Manchester City have today poured scorn on the suggestion that Benjani Mwaruwari could be banned from playing for the Club.
The BBC's late-night Inside Sport programme made the claim that the option of banning Zimbabwean athletes from competing in Britain is being discussed as part of a new strategy to put pressure on Robert Mugabe's regime.
Club spokesman Paul Tyrrell said: “This is the worst type of scare story which shows a lack of editorial integrity from the programme makers and although we are pleased that the BBC have today been quickly distancing themselves from the claim regarding Benjani, it is important to make the position crystal clear regarding his ability to live and work in the UK.
“The player last month received a three and half year work permit from the Home Office to play for Manchester City. We have been assured work permits are non-negotiable.
“The programme makers and the BBC should apologise to the player immediately.”
Tyrrell is correct when he referred to the inclusion of Benjani as a 'scare story', and it seems that the BBC are stretching things somewhat by using Benjani as evidence to support their story.
In some ways it is a shame, as the situation in Zimbabwe is a terrible tragedy all told, and the British government clearly need to provide a firmer lead and direction than they have done so far - as shown during the Cricket World Cup debacle a few years ago.
It's a pity that what could have been a relevant investigative piece amounted to little more than headline grabbing from the BBC.