Friday, June 05, 2009

Fifa drops age limit on nationality switches. So what?

You may know that previously, under Fifa law, a player could not for another country after featuring for the senior national team of another after his/her 21st birthday.

That is set to change.

That's Fifa has lifted the age limit on switching nationalities.

Do you know what this means? It means that players like Danny Welbeck, Mustapha Riga and others can play for Ghana.

A motion from the Algerian Football Association, removing the reference to the age limit, was passed by 58 percent of the FIFA Congress, opening the way for many players to get a second chance in international football.

The rule change does not affect any player who was played for the full national team as they are barred from switching nations.

"The theme of this Congress is protecting the game, protecting the players - above all, young players - and strengthening governance. We shall not only deal with the consequences of the issues but find solutions to tackle the roots, the causes of these issues" - Sepp Blatter

The motion was moved by an Algerian official and the change was backed heavily by African countries - many of whom will now hope to 'regain' players who have played at youth level for European countries.

Algeria could now have access to several players who have featured in France's youth teams such as Lazio midfielder Mourad Meghni. Meghni, who was born in France to Algerian parents, represented France at Under-17 and Under-21 level but has never played for the full national side.

Another significant decision Fifa took was to drop the age limit on referees, too.