FIFA tweaks eligibility laws to allow young players to switch nationality

September 21 – New eligibility rules easing restrictions on switching nationality have been introduced by FIFA with African players, in particular, likely to benefit.

Players can now switch national teams provided they have played no more than three matches for their initial national side at senior level, including friendlies, and all before they turn 21.

The only exceptions to the rule are if they have appeared at a World Cup finals or confederation finals such as the Euros.

Eligibility has been a hot topic in recent years and the new regulations means that players are no longer tied to a national team on the basis of a single appearance a young age. Now they can switch provided they were eligible to represent a second country at the time they made their debut for the first.

The rule change could not have come at a better time for many players now that international friendlies have largely been replaced by competitive fixtures such as the Nations League.

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