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Potential Work Permit Complications For Firmino

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Reports indicate that Roberto Firmino will not be eligible for an automatic work permit, because arbitrary regulations must be followed to their fullest extent. However, Liverpool remain confident that Firmino will get a permit.

Yes, we think you're #1 too.
Yes, we think you're #1 too.
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

What fun is life without complications? Besides, all of this good news and positive feelings were starting to get old. According to The Echo, on May 1 this year, the FA instituted new guidelines for granting automatic work permits to international players, with the goal of protecting and promoting young English talent. Because we're not living in a multi-cultural, multi-national, globalized society, and football isn't reflective of that in the slightest. And while I'm being sarcastic, I'll add that protective barriers to trade and talent always work out for the best.

Although Firmino does not qualify for the automatic work permit, it seems unlikely that the "Exceptions Panel" will deny the Brazilian international. Other considerations are taken into account, including a player's value, salary, and former league, all of which are highly favorable for the player and club.

The new regulations demand that certain international requirements be met, and Firmino falls just shy of those guidelines. For players from Top 10 countries on FIFA's notoriously faulty index, they must have played at least 30 percent of all competitive matches in the last 24 months for which they were healthy and available. If Firmino continues to feature for Brazil in the Copa Americana through the final, he will have played in 6 of Brazil's 21 competitive matches, or 28.6 percent. The requirements become even more strict for players outside of the Top 10, demanding more playing time for internationals from lower ranked countries, rising to over 75 percent of matches played for those from countries ranked between 40 and 50.

So, we have an arbitrary rule, based on an arbitrary and faulty ranking system, and our much-anticipated Big Name is falling victim to these newest capricious requirements. Great.

Last year, the panel approved 79 percent of all appeals--most for far lower profile cases--though they are expected to cut their acceptance rate by one third.

The article also points out that Chelsea were recently able to secure a permit for Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traoré, so getting one to play for Liverpool should be no problem because the FA is all about consistent adherence to its arbitrary rules.