Work permit delays Grant's return to Portsmouth

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The Independent Online

Avram Grant's return to Portsmouth has hit a hiccup and he will be unable to take up his post as director of football for another two weeks after a complication over his work permit.

The former Israel and Chelsea manager had hoped to have started work at the Premier League's bottom club earlier this week. He was also expected to be seated on the bench with manager Paul Hart for Saturday's match with Tottenham at Fratton Park and the return of former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp.

However Grant, 54, is still awaiting clearance from the Home Office, despite having previously worked in England for two seasons. The Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie confirmed that Grant had not been able to rejoin the club he left two years ago. Storrie said: "Avram has not got his work permit yet and there is nothing we can do to speed it up. He has applied in the normal way and all we can do is wait and see what happens. It is annoying but these things take time. There's no problem, Avram's just got to get a work permit. It's pretty standard. We're just waiting to have it granted before he can start work here."

Grant's permit is expected to be rubber-stamped but the delay has been caused because Israel remains outside the European Economic Area which makes it illegal for him to work in Britain without an appropriate permit. Grant will attend the visit of Spurs on Saturday but will have to watch the game from the directors' box.

The Israeli was appointed director of football last week after the takeover of Portsmouth by Ali Abdullah al-Faraj. Grant was sacked as Chelsea manager in 2008 just three days after leading the club to the final of the Champions League, which they lost in a penalty shoot-out to Manchester United. He does hold the distinction of having never lost a home league game with Chelsea.

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