Essien and another English player, Carlton Cole face were facing the prospect of a five year jail term for inadvertently breaking Indonesian immigration laws that prevent foreign nationals from working in the country without the relevant documentation.
Essien and Cole moved to Persib Bandung football club earlier this year, the club admitted it failed to make the submission of their work permit application before the deadline. This meant that the players, who have made appearances for the club have done so illegally.
Persib Bandung officials maintain they were given ‘special’ permission for Essien and Cole to play whilst the necessary administrative functions were performed.
“That they are here is a joy for us, they want to raise up Indonesia’s name in the world. Everybody knows that Essien is a world-class player, not an illegal immigrant.”
A spokesperson for the immigration authorities was quoted by a British newspaper saying: “They are professionals so they must hold a permit to perform activities in Indonesia."
On Tuesday, Indonesian authorities banned Michael Essien and Carlton Cole from playing until they get work permits sparing them the prospect of jail.