Pantsil situation clarified

Following a number of incorrect media reports today, West Ham United would like to clarify the situation regarding our Ghanaian international defender John Pantsil.

The 25-year-old defender travelled back to Ghana recently to meet up with his new national team coach and, upon returning to the UK, was informed by customs officials that he would need to update his Visa in order to continue his employment with West Ham United.

He was not refused entry to the country or immediately sent back to Ghana, but simply informed that he would need to return to his homeland to obtain the updated Visa before he could continue employment in the UK.

As John is currently sidelined with a knee injury and so unavailable for selection, it was convenient for him to head back to Ghana this week, and he is due to return to England this weekend before recommencing training on Monday.

We would also like to take this opportunity to clear up any confusion surrounding the correct spelling of the defender's surname. Despite John's admittance that he has spelt his surname as Paintsil in the past - including while playing for Ghana in the World Cup finals this summer - the fact remains that the spelling on his official documentation is PANTSIL.

Therefore, his work permit was issued under the name of Pantsil, he is registered with the Premier League as Pantsil, and his contract of employment at the Club is in the name of Pantsil.

For this reason, the Club have no other option but to use that spelling of John's name and, as supporters will have noticed, that includes the official spelling on the back of his playing shirt.

Having agreed with the spelling of his name when he signed his playing contract at Upton Park, John has insisted he is happy for this to be the case and is looking forward to continuing his Hammers career now that the situation has been clarified.