FIFA amends rules for international players

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Windhoek - FIFA have announced a change in eligibility rules to make it easier for players to switch national teams.

Players who have featured in less than four national team games, including World Cup and continental competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, can now play for another country under the new regulations.

The exception is if one or more of these games were at the actual World Cup or AFCON tournament and not just the qualifiers. Further, the appearance must also have come before the player turns 21 and the individual must be eligible to represent the new national team through either family ties or residency.

The new rule has been brought in to aid the international careers of players who feature for a national team while still young but decide to switch allegiances as they get slightly older.

Under the old regulations, a single appearance for a national team in any competitive game bound a player to that country for life.

African nations with big diaspora communities will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the rule change as they can woo players who would have made a few appearances for their adoptive countries but may realise they have no long-term international career overseas

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