HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith has been lobbied to review a decision not to grant an Iraqi footballer a work permit to play for Manchester City.

Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson had hoped to bring Nashat Akram, a star of Iraq's Asian Cup-winning team, to play for his side.

But Akram, aged 24, cannot come to the UK because of a technicality in immigration rules for footballers.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, said: "I shall be calling on the Home Secretary to review this decision.

"Here we have someone who wants to come and work legitimately, a role model for his country, whose presence here can heal divisions in Iraq. Parliament has given ministers the right to exercise their discretion and they should use it."