Dundalk may take legal action to ensure that South Korean winger Han Eui-gwon can join the club this season.
Interest in the 26-year-old has been ongoing since before Christmas with a deal agreed between the club and player but so far the FAI have refused to sign off on his work permit application as he does not meet the terms set out in their participation agreement.
As part of an agreement between the FAI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, a player seeking a work permit must “have participated in a minimum of 25% of his club’s league fixtures during the current or most recent full season.”
The issue with Eui-gwon is that he falls just outside this criteria having only played in 22% of K League matches for Suwon Samsung Bluewings last year.
Given that he was just one game away from reaching the quota required to receive a work permit in a season that was curtailed due to Covid-19 and in which he was often sidelined by injury, Dundalk have argued that the “most recent full season” should apply.
In the 2019 campaign, Eui-gwon played in 76% of his side’s K League 1 matches.
The signing of American Taner Dogan – who has since gone on loan to Athlone Town – is believed to have complicated matters, however, with the FAI understood to be of the belief that as 2020 criteria was used to assist his application, Dundalk couldn’t have it both ways by picking and choosing which year applied.
The Argus understands, however, that Dundalk chairman Bill Hulsizer has sought legal advice and the associated costings over the matter and is considering taking action to push Eui-gwon’s move through.
Sporting Director Jim Magilton confirmed to The Argus on Monday morning that the club had yet to give up on signing the winger, who could still join at any time as a free agent having departed Suwon Samsung Bluewings late last year.
“We’ve been with the boy throughout this whole journey and we’ve tried very hard to get to a reasonable place with the FAI,” said Magilton.
“We understand that there are rules and regulations. We’ve tried to put a case forward in relation to all the challenges around last season and we feel a case should be heard for Han.
“We’re very respectful of how Han and his agent have dealt with this whole situation and because of their loyalty to this we feel we should be given a chance to talk through it and that’s what we’re looking at doing.”
Update: Han has since signed for K League 2 side Seoul E-Land on Wednesday