Tribunal to hear Fulham's appeal to acquire Dempsey

December 30, 2006

New England Revolution star Clint Dempsey is close to joining Fulham FC in England, according to a report Saturday in the Boston Globe.

Fulham manager Chris Coleman acknowledged that the club and the MLS have agreed to a £1.5 million ($2.9 million) transfer fee for Dempsey, pending the approval of a work permit.

Players who come to Europe from someplace other than the European Union need to have played in 75 percent of recent matches for their respective national team. Dempsey is just shy of that requirement, having played in nine of 13 matches for the United States this year -- but that does not disqualify him from consideration.

A Professional Footballers' Association tribunal will hear Fulham's appeal to obtain a work permit for Dempsey.

"We've agreed a fee but it still has to go to the tribunal," Coleman said, according to the Globe. "He's had a few injury problems, so he's just a little bit short there. But it's not like he's coming here to sit on the bench. He's coming because we've bought him to make a big impact."

Fulham is tied for 10th place in the Premier League with 26 points in 21 matches. Former MLS standouts Simon Elliott and Brian McBride also play on the team.

"Clint's a wide player up front, can play either flank, strong with pace, a good player, good touch," Coleman said, according to the Globe. "He has all the attributes to be a good player in the Premier League, is the right age and was in our price range."

"We've been there [at tribunals] before and not won all of them, so we've got to keep our fingers crossed."