Jakarta. Persib Bandung's foreign players Michael Essien and Carlton Cole have been prohibited from playing competitive football until the two megastars obtain valid work permits, the head of the West Java capital's immigration office said on Tuesday (18/04).
The Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI) reported Essien and Cole to the immigration office on Monday, claiming that the two players had neither residence permits, or Kitas, nor valid work permits, or IMTA.
"We've asked Persib to not field [Essien and Cole] before they obtain the proper status," Bandung Immigration Office head Maulia Purnamawati said, as reported by state-run news agency Antara.
Essien and Cole arrived in the country last month on 60-day visas.
Maulia said Persib has been cooperating with immigration officials to process permits for Essien and Cole since the two former English Premier League players were reported by BOPI.
However, she expressed regret that the two were fielded in Persib's Liga 1 opening match on Saturday, a move considered illegal by BOPI and the immigration office.
"It takes 11 days actually to obtain a Kitas if you only possess a temporary stay visa," Maulia said. "We have asked Persib not to field foreign players who do not have valid work permits."
According to a recent report by JawaPos, Essien and Cole are just two of eight foreign footballers signed by Liga 1 clubs who have yet to acquire legal status.