U.S. ABROAD: Bobby Convey denied work permit

Bobby Convey's move from D.C. United to Premier League Tottenham Hotspur collapsed when his petition for a work permit was denied by England's Home Office. The 20-year-old midfielder remains on D.C. United's active roster.

A six-member panel split, 3-3, in the decision on Convey's appeal. A simple majority is needed. The membership of the panel is rotated among English Football Association officials, coaches, and former players.

Agent Richard Motzkin said letters of support were submitted from U.S. coach Bruce Arena, Spurs and U.S. goalie Kasey Keller, San Jose coach and former Ipswich player Frank Yallop, and U.S. under-20 coach Thomas Rongen on Convey's behalf.

''We are obviously extremely disappointed for Bobby at the outcome of the work permit hearing,'' said United technical director Dave Kasper. ''However, I am confident that he will one day fulfill his ambition of playing in the top leagues of Europe.''

Tim Howard's initial application for a work permit was also denied, but he won on appeal, allowing him leave the MetroStars for Manchester United, for which he is starting in goal.

Howard, like Convey, didn't meet a requirement that a player have appeared in 75 percent of his team's competitive matches during the previous two years, but United and Manager Alex Ferguson made a strong case that he could be a starter at Man U.

The Howard case was also affected by his application for a Hungarian passport. He probably won't receive the passport until next year, but on May 1 Hungarian citizens will be granted European Union status and he'd no longer need a work permit.

Convey had no such fall-back. There is no appeal to the appeal process and he won't be able to apply for another work permit for 12 months.

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