FIFA eligibility rules

Rules to determine if a player can represent a country / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about FIFA eligibility rules?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


In association football, the FIFA eligibility rules are the specific eligibility criteria that FIFA (International Association Football Federation), as the sports governing body, have established in order to facilitate representative team selection for international competitions.[1] Specifically FIFA is responsible for the maintenance and implementation of the rules that determine whether an association football player is eligible to represent a particular national team in officially sanctioned international competitions and friendly matches.[1]

The eligibility of athletes has traditionally been associated with the idea that the legal nationality of a competitor would broadly align with a representative nationality. In the first century of association football this application enabled players with more than one nationality to represent more than one country, particularly after naturalisation in a new country. However representative national teams are organised by national football associations and not all countries have associations affiliated with FIFA.[1] Meanwhile some countries have a plurality of associations such as United Kingdom being represented by the four constituent associations of England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland, while some associations represent regions that would not be typically recognised as an independent country with such as dependent territories (e.g. Gibraltar), autonomous states or territories (e.g. the Faroe Islands, Kosovo) and enclaves or principalities or microstates (e.g. San Marino). Not all countries have an association affiliated with FIFA.[1]

In 2004 FIFA implemented a significant new ruling that requires a player to demonstrate a "clear connection" to any country they wish to represent in reaction to the growing trend towards naturalisation of foreign players in some countries. FIFA has used its authority to overturn results of competitive international matches that feature ineligible players. In January 2021 FIFA instituted a comprehensive revamp of the eligibility system, giving players who might otherwise have been tied to a representative nationality the ability to switch to another nation.

The fielding of ineligible players can result in sanctions including the overturning of results.