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| 19 October, 2017

Soccer-FIFA to look into changing nationality rules

Raindrops flow down on a logo in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland June 8, 2016.

Raindrops flow down on a logo in front of FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland June 8, 2016.

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

FIFA is considering an overhaul of the rules which govern players' eligibility for national teams, including a proposal which would allow them to switch allegiance in certain circumstances.

ZURICH - FIFA is considering an overhaul of the rules which govern players' eligibility for national teams, including a proposal which would allow them to switch allegiance in certain circumstances.

Victor Montagliani, head of FIFA's stakeholders' committee, said there were issues regarding the rules, which are aimed at preventing players from switching between national teams or representing countries they have no connection with.

"There are so many issues that have popped up over the years because the world is changing, immigration is changing," said the Canadian, who is president of the North, Central America and Caribbean federation (CONCACAF).

"There are nationality issues that pop up all over the world, in Africa, there are issues in Asia and CONCACAF, so its a good time to have a look at this and see if there are solutions, without hurting the integrity of the game."

At present, players who have played a competitive international for one team cannot switch to another national side even when they hold dual nationality.

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The Cape Verde football federation has proposed this rule be relaxed in cases where the player has played only one or two games for his original national side but has no realistic chance of a recall.

Players are only allowed to represent a country with which they have no blood connection if they have lived and played there for five years, but Montagliani said his committee would look into changing that period and possibly increasing it.

World soccer's ruling body could also look into a compensation scheme in cases where a player goes through the training system of one country and represents it a youth level before switching to another.

(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond) ((brian.homewood@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 7933; Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.reuters.com@reuters.net; . Twitter @brianhomewood))