FIFA changes statutes to tighten nationality loopholes

SYDNEY Fri May 30, 2008 10:58am BST

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - FIFA introduced strict new rules on Friday to make it harder for players to switch nationalities and stop countries abusing the current system.

The FIFA Congress overwhelmingly supported a proposal to amend their own statutes on the regulations allowing players to represent countries other than their homeland.

Under the previous system, the rules allowed uncapped players to switch allegiances if they had lived in a country for at least two years, or has a parent or grandparent who was born there.

However, FIFA voted on Friday to extend the waiting period to five years as part of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's plan to reduce the number of foreign footballers playing abroad.

FIFA also amended their laws on promotion and relegation by outlawing the practice of clubs buying licenses from teams in higher divisions to secure promotion.

FIFA's new laws state that clubs can only earn promotion through their onfield sporting performances.

The issue had come about last year when Spanish fourth division side Granada 74 succeeded in effectively purchasing a place in the country's second division from Ciudad de Murciaus.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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