Sheffield Wednesday: Owls thwarted in attempt to sign ex-Leeds United player Rudy Austin, says agent

Rudy Austin
Rudy Austin
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Sheffield Wednesday have reportedly been denied the opportunity to sign versatile ex-Leeds United star Rudy Austin due to new Football Association work permit rules.

The player's agent says that the Owls had agreed to bring the 30 year old to Hillsborough but because his country, Jamaica, fall outside of the top 50 in official FIFA rankings, he is now ineligible to play in England, according to the FA.

Austin was released by Leeds at the end of last season and appeared set to become the latest in a long line of new Wednesday signings.

However, the player must now look abroad to continue his career.

"For Rudy this is very traumatic," Austin's agent Darryl Powell told PA Sport.

"We had agreed a deal in principle with Sheffield Wednesday, who were going to make him one of their best paid players, if not the best and that was going to be on a three-year contract.

"Unfortunately the appeal process does not really work anymore. If you spend in excess of £10million on fees and salary you can bypass it.

"But other than that there's not much chance, even though he's right at the top-end of the pay scale and would make such a good contribution to life in the UK."

Austin has just returned to the UK having helped Jamaica to the final of the Gold Cup where they were eventually beaten by Mexico.

"He came back into England two days before his work permit and visa expires, which is midnight on Thursday," Powell said.

"Under the new rules a player's country of origin has to be in the top 50 in FIFA's rankings over the last two years and Jamaica was in the top 75.

"His little boy, who is two, was born in England and Rudy and his wife want to make their home here. He was two years away from being naturalised, but now he'll have to leave the UK."

Powell said there were possibilities for Austin with Major League Soccer clubs in the US and there had also been interest from Turkey.

"It's very sad really," Powell added. "Over half of the clubs in the Championship would have taken Rudy on at the right level.

"We'd agreed a deal with Bolton in March, but that could not be concluded due to their financial situation."

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