Football: Scheidt work permit decision soon

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The Independent Online
CELTIC SHOULD know in the next two to three days whether the work permit application for their pounds 4.8m Brazilian defender Rafael Felipe Scheidt has been successful.

The club attended a hearing in Glasgow yesterday and are anxious that Rafael will be able to arrive at Parkhead after Scotland's winter break from Gremio Porto Alegre.

Rafael, 23, has already agreed personal terms on a four-and-a-half-year contract, leaving the work permit as the only potential stumbling block. A spokesman for the Department for Education and Employment said: "We should be able to say within the next two or three days whether the application has been successful or not. The panel findings will be transmitted to Margaret Hodge [the Junior Education Minister], and she will have the final say."

Although Rafael has established himself as a regular part of the Brazilian squad, he does not fulfil the necessary criteria of having appeared in 75 per cent of his country's internationals in the past two years.

The Rangers chairman, David Murray, has insisted that the Ibrox misfit Andrei Kanchelskis does have a future with the Glasgow club. The Russian international winger, signed in a pounds 5.5m deal from Fiorentina last year, has shown only glimpses of the form which made him a crowd favourite at Manchester United and Everton.

Kanchelskis has spent most of the season on the substitutes' bench as coach Dick Advocaat attempted to make Rangers a dominant force in Europe, and he appeared certain to be heading out of the club as the Dutchman attempted to strengthen still further in the wake of the recent Uefa Cup exit against Borussia Dortmund.

However, Kanchelskis marked a rare starting place with two goals in the 5-1 demolition of Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday and Murray believes the player is still part of Advocaat's long-term plans.

"We are not in the business of promoting the sale of Andrei Kanchelskis," said Murray. "He is an important member of our squad and, as long as he continues to show the kind of form he displayed against Motherwell, I do not think Dick [Advocaat] will have a problem with him. Not only did he contribute two goals, he also played his part in what was a very good team performance. I believe Dick was very happy with his performance."