Watford's Sierra Leone midfielder Al Bangura has won the right to remain in Britain after being awarded a work permit.
|The Watford crowd show their support for Al Bangura |
The move follows a campaign to allow the 19-year-old to remain in the country after he was told he was being deported last month.
Watford announced the news on their website saying a government panel decided Bangura's "footballing credentials warranted his extended stay in this country".
Local Member of Parliament Claire Ward and Watford chairman Graham Simpson met Home Office minister Liam Byrne on December 19 and following that meeting, Watford were given the option of applying for the work permit.
Simpson told the website: "As a club we are very happy with the news, but most of all we are delighted for Al and his family."
"We always knew we had a strong case and, despite our setbacks, we knew we had to fight for what we believed to be right for this young man. I would like to personally thank all the Watford fans whose backing of Al has been so crucial to moving this forward and securing his immediate future in the United Kingdom.''
Bangura fled Sierra Leone as a 15-year-old in fear of his life.
However, Bangura was ordered to leave the country on December 11 because an asylum and immigration tribunal ruled that he had exaggerated the risk to his life if he was to return to Sierra Leone.
After the Home Office served the deportation order several thousand fans of the Championship (second division) side signed a petition in protest, demanding that the government allow him to stay.
Thousands of Watford fans also held up placards with Bangura's image on it at last month's league match against Plymouth Argyle.
After being discovered playing locally in Watford, he joined the club as a 17-year-old trainee in 2005 and has since made more than 60 appearances for the club, including 16 in the Premiership last season.
Bangura has yet to feature in the league this season after numerous injuries.