Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
|Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:42 am Post subject: AUSTIN SIGNS with Norwegian Premier League side SK Brann
|BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter
Sunday, August 31, 2008
JAMAICA and Portmore United midfielder Rudolph Austin should make his debut for Norwegian Premier League football team SK Brann today following a hurried weekend signing with the Scandinavian side.
Portmore United director, Howard McIntosh, told the Sunday Observer that the player landed in Norway on Thursday and trained with the squad on the same day before signing a deal on Friday, just days before the European transfer window closed.
"It was scheduled to close August 31 (today), but for all intents and purposes Friday was the last day, so it was really last minute," he said. "Obviously, they were very impressed with him."
The signing, which according to the club's website will run until June 2009, comes just three weeks after a proposed £1-million deal with English Premier League Club Stoke City fell through when Austin was refused a work permit.
It was Stoke's second failed attempt at getting the 23-year-old after a work permit was also refused last season. McIntosh told the Sunday Observer at the time that the work permit was refused because of Jamaica's lowly place on the FIFA World Ranking table.
"I am going by reports that have been sent through to us. The appeal was turned down primarily on the basis of the rankings. I am really upset because we have done everything that we can do and he (Austin) has done everything he could do and it goes back to this period of experimenting that we went through two years ago under (Crenston) Boxhill...rubbish about ranking don't matter," McIntosh said at the time.
To get a work permit in the United Kingdom requires that a player participates in at least 75 per cent of the country's official games over a two-year period. It also calls for the player's country of origin to be ranked no higher than 70 on the FIFA list, on average over the same two-year period. Jamaica was ranked 94 at the time Austin's work permit was refused.
Yesterday, McIntosh was in better spirits: "We were all hoping for the best for Rudolph because he is a talent and everybody who has his interest at heart was hoping for the best."
Though he would not reveal the exact figure the deal was worth, McIntosh said it rivalled that which they were arranging with Stoke City. " ...You know how it is... let's just say it is a good deal and one that should be close to what we were going to do with Stoke," he said.
There is a Norwegian consulate in Jamaica, but for greater efficacy the player travelled to Houston, Texas to the Norwegian consulate located there to acquire a visa and will organise a work permit while in Norway.
"It's a step by step process," McIntosh said. Meanwhile, Brann held a press conference on Friday to announce Austin's signing.
"I'm happy to be here and I'm focused at doing my best at Brann," he was quoted on the club's website www.brann.no as saying.
"He's a good tackler. He's an aggressive player, who can win the ball. He's got the skills to play at high level. He can play either in a defensive or attacking role in central midfield," Brann's head coach Mons Ivar Mjelde said.
Austin is expected to make his first outing with Brann in their game against Bodo/Glimt this afternoon.
Brann are currently ranked ninth of the 14 teams in the table with 24 points from 18 matches played. Bodo/Glimt are ranked fifth with 28 points from 18 games.
Meanwhile, McIntosh said that Austin would return in time for this weekend's World Cup qualifier against Mexico at the National Stadium. "Absolutely, he'll be back," McIntosh concluded.