June 3, 2009 / 7:22 PM / 11 years ago

Soccer-FIFA removes age limit on players switching nations

NASSAU, June 3 (Reuters) - Many players could get a new chance to play international football after FIFA’s congress surprisingly voted on Wednesday to remove the age limit on changing national teams.

Under established rules players with dual nationality, who had already played for a country’s national team at youth level, were only allowed to switch loyalties until the age of 21.

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 Algerian 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.

Editing by Ed Osmond. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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