Court ends Kalou's World Cup dreams
9 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — A court in Rotterdam has put an end to Feyenoord star Salomon Kalou's dreams of playing for Holland during the World Cup in Germany next month.
9 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — A court in Rotterdam has put an end to Feyenoord star Salomon Kalou's dreams of playing for Holland during the World Cup in Germany next month.
The judge backed the decision by Immigration and Naturalisation Minister Rita Verdonk that the native of Ivory Coast is not entitled to accelerated naturalisation.
Verdonk and Kalou engaged in a very public battle earlier this year following her decision not to fast-track his application. She ruled he has to pass a naturalisation exam before he can be granted a Dutch passport. He failed the first part of the exam in November.
Getting the court to overturn Verdonk's decision was Kalou's last chance to play for the Dutch in the World Cup. National coach Marco van Basten indicated there would be a place for him in the squad should he become eligible on time.
Verdonk could have granted Kalou a Dutch passport on the basis of his status as a leading sportsman. Van Basten and Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff urged her to do so but she decided there was no substantial gain in granting him fast-track naturalisation. Verdonk argued this was in line with the tougher immigration procedures introduced by the Netherlands in 2003.
Lawyer Jelle Kroes said his client could "in theory" still take part in the World Cup, playing for his native country's team. "But Kalou is not even considering this," Kroes said. The Dutch play their second group match of the World Cup against Ivory Coast on 16 June.
Verdonk is delighted with the court decision. Her spokesperson said it underlined the importance of the naturalisation exam.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news, World Cup, Salomon Kalou