BERNE - FIFA will consider a proposal to
relax the rules on the naturalisation of players at its annual
Congress and give its executive committee greater powers to
suspend member federations.
The Congress, where the main item is the presidential
election between incumbent Sepp Blatter and challenger Mohamed
Bin Hammam on June 1, will also be asked to rubber-stamp moves
to tighten up on friendly internationals.
Football's governing body will consider a suggestion that a
player over the age of 18 need only live in a new country for
three rather than the current five years before he can play for
its national team.
FIFA said the proposal, included in the Congress agenda, had
been made by the United Arab Emirates football association.
Many feel the regulations are already too relaxed and allow
players to switch nationalities too easily.
Portugal and Mexico have fielded foreign-born players with
no parental connections to the country, as have a number of
Blatter once said that he feared a World Cup being played
with teams full of Brazilian players who had changed
Until 2004, a player only needed the passport of the country
he wanted to represent, which many nations were happy to
But after Qatar tried to sign up Brazilian forward Ailton,
FIFA ruled that players must have lived in their country for at
least two years before they could play for it. That was later
increased to five.
The Congress will also be asked to allow the executive
committee to suspend a member federation for a single violation
of FIFA statutes. At the moment, it can only do this for
repeated serious violations.
FIFA's executive committee announced in March it would take
greater control over international friendlies.
This came after a fake Togo team played in one game in
September and seven penalties were awarded in two matches in
Turkey in February.
Congress has been asked to approve the new rules which
include allowing FIFA to change the referee if it thinks he is
not qualified for the game.
The Congress agenda said: "FIFA would like to highlight the
fact that it is of vital importance to have clear provisions
regarding the authorisation of international matches in order to
protect the integrity of football."
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