Monday, January 9, 2006
ESPNsoccernet: January 10, 10:47 AM UK
Wanted starlet Mikel loses Lyn appeal
John Obi Mikel has lost the court case he hoped would push through his projected move from Lyn Oslo to the Premiership.
The 18-year-old Nigerian midfielder, who has been courted by Manchester United
and Chelsea, had asked Oslo's city court to rule in a labour dispute, arguing
the contract he has with Lyn was forged.
However the judgement went against Mikel, with the court advising his legal
team the matter was a sporting rather than a labour dispute, and belonged in a
court of sporting arbitration.
The teenager was billed with court costs of approximately £14,000 and Lyn
declared themselves 'satisfied' with the verdict.
Lawyer Tron Dalheim, acting on behalf of Lyn, told PA Sport the case must now
be heard by either FIFA or the Norwegian Football Federation.
Mikel is rated among the best players in the world in his age group.
However, after agreeing to join Manchester United last year, he then claimed
to have been pressured into giving the Old Trafford club his word and announced
he would rather sign for Jose Mourinho's Premiership champions.
United announced a deal for Mikel on April 29, 2005, when both parties
declared themselves pleased with the agreement, however days later the youngster
told Sky Sports: 'I signed a contract with Manchester United and I didn't do
that of my own free will.'
However it means Mikel, who seems destined not to resume his Lyn career
whatever the eventual outcome of his dispute, remains in footballing limbo.
Lyn insist the contract they have with Mikel is the genuine article, and FIFA
barred Mikel joining any other club without his present side's say-so last
He has not played club football since early last year.
Former Lyn manager Hans Knutsen has described Mikel as 'the most promising
player I've ever seen', telling PA Sport: 'He can definitely go all the way to
the top of the game. I can't see anything stopping him making Nigeria a truly
strong international team.
'He is physically prepared and tactically prepared - he's tactically superb -
and I can't see anything which can stop him apart from the people around him.
'He's been a very good player and should soon become one of the outstanding
players in the Premiership.'