Cummings trains with Aston Villa_DL
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Work permit issues end Cummings' EPL stay

Omar Cummings’ training stint with English Premier League club Aston Villa has come to an end. 

Aston Villa and the Colorado Rapids had agreed to a loan for Cummings which would have seen the forward be with the Birmingham, England club until the start of the Major League Soccer season in March.

However, the loan fell through after it became difficult for Cummings to obtain a work permit that would allow him to play in England, which was a contingency of the loan agreement. 

“The experience with Aston Villa is one that I'll remember for a long time,” said Cummings today from England. “I didn't get on the pitch but it was a pleasure to meet the guys and to play with them, and to get a little insight into life in the English Premier League.” 

Cummings, who had been practicing with Aston Villa since late December, last trained with the club on Saturday.  

According to The Football Association, the sports governing body in England, the following conditions must be met in order for a player to qualify for an immediate work permit:

1. The applicant club must be in membership of the Premier League or Football League.

2. The player must have participated in at least 75% of his home country’s senior competitive international matches where he was available for selection during the two years preceding the date of the application; and

3. The player’s National Association must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA World Rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.

READ: The FA Work Permit Rules and Regulations (PDF)

Jamaica’s national team, for which Cummings has been a regular, dropped from 58th to 59th in the January FIFA rankings despite winning the 2010 Caribbean Cup in December. As such, the team’s two-year average ranking dropped from 71st to 72nd place among all national teams, therefore Cummings does not automatically qualify for a work permit.

The appeal process in work permit situations is known to be lengthy. After taking time to consider and evaluate the terms of the loan as well as club's own situation, Aston Villa decided not to appeal.

Cummings will fly home to Jamaica on Tuesday. He will join his Rapids teammates for the start of preseason in Colorado later this month.

The Rapids begin defense of their MLS Cup title on March 19 when the expansion Portland Timbers visit Dick's Sporting Goods Park for a 7 pm MT kickoff.