Ralf Rangnick, the new Manchester United interim manager, faces a Football Association-appointed independent panel in order to gain his Home Office work permit as his recent career out of coaching means he does not meet the criteria automatically.
Rangnick, 63, was announced by the club on Monday as its interim manager until the end of the season, with a further two-year consultancy on top of that “subject to work visa requirements”. United have not specified a start date when Rangnick will be able to take training and manage the team on matchday - although there is currently no chance of that happening for the next Premier League game at home to Arsenal on Thursday, with the club announcing former midfielder Michael Carrick will remain in charge.
There is a possibility that Rangnick’s application may already have been in front of the panel, although neither the FA nor United would confirm that. The application process has already begun.
The German national has not worked as a manager long enough in the last five years – where he has chiefly been involved in various directorship roles with the global group of Red Bull clubs – to obtain his work permit by default.
Instead, the club have accepted that Rangnick must go through what the FA describes as an “Exceptions Panel” to make his case for a “Governing Body Endorsement” (GBE) – which is the pathway to gaining a work permit from the Home Office. Post-Brexit, managers coming from the European Union need to demonstrate that they have managed at a high level for a minimum period in the last five years to qualify automatically for a GBE. The process is administered by the FA who then makes its recommendation direct to the Home Office.
Rangnick does not fit the criteria for what the FA describe as the “Prescribed Time” – how long a manager has worked as a coach or assistant coach in the last five years to get a GBE. A GBE is automatically awarded to any coach who has worked as such in the world’s top domestic leagues for a cumulative total of 36 months within the last five years from the application, or a consecutive total of 24 months. As it stands Rangnick has only worked as a coach under those terms for around 11 months consecutively when he temporarily coached RB Leipzig in the 2018-2019 season.
The independent three-person panel that will consider Rangnick’s case will be appointed by the FA. The club has the right to challenge the inclusion of any of the members. Under the FA’s rules it says, the Exceptions Panel will only award the GBE required for a work permit to candidates of the “highest calibre” who are “able to contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in England.”
The panel will also consider other roles Rangnick held at the clubs in question during the period, including RB Leipzig, and most recently Lokomotiv Moscow. Having announced that Rangnick would be joining the club, United are confident that the panel will approve Rangnick’s application.
The panel will be chaired by a legal professional with two other members drawn from football. The trio make their decision with a simple majority vote on whether to recommend the award of the GBE. The decision is only a recommendation to the FA which can reject it but would be highly unlikely to do so.
The former RB Leipzig, Schalke and Hoffenheim coach has been watching footage of United’s training sessions, in addition to past games, as he bids to hit the ground running. United are currently in eighth position in the Premier League, five points adrift of West Ham in fourth and Arsenal in fifth. As such, Thursday’s game against Mikel Arteta’s side could be significant with regards to United’s Champions League aspirations.
United announced the appointment of Rangnick on Monday morning and the German said: “I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club. The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually and, most importantly, as a team.
“Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.”
Carrick, who has been serving as caretaker manager since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking eight days ago, will remain in charge while Rangnick's visa is finalised.