FIFA Executive Committee drop player eligibility proposal

It’s tucked away at the end of the official FIFA statement and, given the previous reaction to the suggested changes, the IFA’s response in this BBC report, claiming victory in the eligibility row and “interpreting [it] as Fifa abandoning a proposal to allow Northern Ireland-born players to play the Republic of Ireland”, is probably correct – at least in an ‘as of right’ sense.

– The Executive Committee decided to leave the current regulations regarding the eligibility of players to represent association teams unchanged.

The BBC report also notes the FAI reaction

When contacted on Saturday evening, an FAI spokesman said that the Republic of Ireland’s association would “study the ruling before making any comment”. However, the FAI has consistently argued that Fifa rules does give them the right to field Northern Ireland-born players.

Back to square one then? Adds In the comments zone, oneill points to the FAI statement Updated Current relevant Statute added below the fold. And The latest BBC report quotes FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren – “We have submitted all kind of proposals and had all kinds of meetings to discuss the matter at length with both associations (and) come to the conclusion that none of the proposals that Fifa had submitted was accepted by either party.”

An FAI spokesman said: “In October 2006, FIFA’s Legal Department ruled that players born in Northern Ireland are entitled to play for the Republic of Ireland if they choose. Following today’s Executive Committee meeting, senior FIFA sources have confirmed to us that the status quo remains and the FAI may continue to select players born in Northern Ireland who declare that they wish to play for the Republic of Ireland.”

Update From the current FIFA Statutes [pdf file]

[Added emphasis throughout]

Article 15 Principle

1 Any person holding the nationality of a country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of that country. The Executive Committee shall decide on the conditions of eligibility for any Player who has not played international football in accordance with par. 2 below, and either acquires a new nationality or is eligible to play for the teams of more than one Association due to his nationality.

2 With the exception of the conditions specified in par. 3 and 4 below, any Player who has already represented one Association in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football may not play an international match for a representative team of another Association.

3 If a Player has more than one nationality, or if a Player acquires a new nationality, or if a Player is eligible to play for several Associations’ teams due to nationality, he may, up to his 21st birthday, request to change the Association for which he is eligible to play international matches to the Association of another country of which he holds nationality, subject to the following conditions:

(a) He has not played a match (either in full or in part) at “A” international level for his current Association, and if at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the Association’s team for which he wishes to play.
(b) He is not permitted to play for his new Association in any competition in which he has already played for his previous Association. A player may exercise this right only once.

4 If a Player who has been fielded by his Association in an international match in accordance with par. 2 above permanently loses the nationality of that country without his consent or against his will due to a decision by a government authority, he may request permission to play for another Association whose nationality he already has or has acquired.

5 Any Player who has the right to change Associations in accordance with par. 3 and 4 above shall submit a written, substantiated request to the FIFA general secretariat. The Players’ Status Committee shall decide on the request. The procedure will be in accordance with the Rules Governing the Procedures of the Players’ Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber. Once the player has filed his request, he is not eligible to play for any Association team until his request has been processed.

Additionally, in 2004, the FIFA Emergency Committee released a circular letter which stated [pdf file]

1. Any player who refers to the first sentence of article 15, paragraph 1 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes to assume a new nationality shall only be eligible to play for the new national team if he fulfills one of the follwing conditions:

a) The player was born on the territory of the relevant Association.

b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association.

c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association.

d) He has lived continuously for at least two years on the territory of the relevant Association.

I’m not sure if that clarifies things or not..

  • Realist


    Re: Your post of 10.04PM.

    All I want to help acheive is that ANYONE who WANTS to SUPPORT Northern Ireland, can come to our matches in an atmosphere free from sectarianism, bigotry and intolerance.

    That may be a tall order, and a big challenge, but it’s one that I think is well motivated, and worth persuing.

    Obviously, those who do not/will not support Northern Ireland are outside of that objective.


    “Anyway has donegal celtic not just joined the IFA league cup thingy. Where do they actually stand on things?”

    Donegal Celtic are based on the Suffolk Road, West Belfast.

  • willowfield


    fyi…The ‘me and my mates’ remark was plainly tongue-in-cheek. I of course neglected to remember that you are devoid of any semblance of a sense of humour.

    Well, maybe you are similarly devoid of any semblance of a sense of humour, because my repetition of your “me and my mates” remark was also plainly tongue-in-cheek.

    As for your link, I can’t acces it at the moment, though I’m in no doubt it’s the same document I typed in word for word several weeks ago in a vain attempt to engage you in a reasonable argument, so i’m not hopeful. I’m entirely comfortable with the sporting organisations who share my interpretation of the circular, though.

    Have you accessed the document yet? Did you type in a document several weeks that proved you wrong? I’m sorry I missed that!

  • Charlie

    Like Realist, thought it was refreshing to hear from Quagmire a plain statement of truth about why staunch Nationalists will never get behind the N. Ireland football team – presumably not even on a ‘second favoured team to the Republic’ basis. Doesn’t make it any less depressing though…I used to get frustrated and bewildered by Irish Unionists from the North who would absurdly insist that they weren’t Irish and pour contempt on anything to do with the Republic– it’s equally grim to know that on the other side of the coin, there are Irish football fans, who, due to ideological dogma, can take no pride in the sporting success of their fellow-countrymen from both sides of the sectarian divide playing in the emerald green shirts of N. Ireland. You can justify it any way you like but such a state of affairs hardly contributes to the healing process that we’re all supposedly investing in. Except of course if the agenda is to blatantly keep perpetuating the “us ‘uns and themmuns” schism in which case there’s still a daunting amount of work to be done to sort this ****in’ place out…as oul’ WB Yeats said, Catholic and Protestant bigotry is just “two old boots bobbing around the stagnant pond of Irish politics”…

  • Dec


    Is this the best you can do to vilify Northern Ireland fans on the occassion of the Czech Republic match?

    “a cophony of cheers drowned out a smattering of whistles”

    If it is, we’re beginning to see that your motivations are questionable at best.

    I wasn’t vilifying them just re-producing a link to back up an earlier claim. Earlier on in this thread I said (on the subject of the atmosphere at Windsor Park):

    ..and credit to those supporters who finally decided enough was enough.

    You might also want to reference the comments I made on this site, on both the team and the supporters, when Northern Ireland were finally eliminated from the Euro qualifiers.

    Overall, as regards the past at Windsor Park, it’s definitely a case of forgiven but not forgotten for me. Though the emphasis rightly should be placed on forgiven as time goes by.

  • kensei

    “Except of course if the agenda is to blatantly keep perpetuating the “us ‘uns and themmuns” schism in which case there’s still a daunting amount of work to be done to sort this ****in’ place out…”

    No, it has nothing to with perpetuating anything. The Tricolour, the Soldier’s Song and a team with potentially 32-County (if not All Ireland) representative is a much bigger emotional draw than a 6 county one, even if the symbols were neutral. Your product – Stormont Flag, Union Jacks, GSTQ, “Our Wee Country”, Jackie bloody Fullerton, even the “we have to get someone from NI to manage the team” thinking simply isn’t as appealing as what’s on offer elsewhere.

    In any case, this is Unionist mindset stuff. If you are really concerned with division, the biggest one on the island is the big back line squiggling around part of the North. One of its consequences is that there are two football teams. We’re happy to end all of it tomorrow.

  • Charlie

    Kensei re. “Unionist mindset stuff”

    This particular poster would NEVER describe themselves as a Unionist so I’d say its advisable to avoid that presumption in any argument about supporting the N.I. team.

  • willowfield


    Your product – Stormont Flag, Union Jacks, GSTQ, “Our Wee Country”, Jackie bloody Fullerton, even the “we have to get someone from NI to manage the team” thinking simply isn’t as appealing as what’s on offer elsewhere.

    What’s the problem with “Jackie bloody Fullerton”?

    And what’s this “we have to get someone from NI to manage the team”? Who said that? And why does it annoy you?

  • Quagmire

    Charlie with all due respect its not about a sectarian divide its about a political one. Religion is not the issue for me at all. Even if the north was exclusively comprised of catholic players the team would still not receive my support.

  • Charlie

    Indeed Quagmire, but my point is that Irish patriotism (not, I’d emphasise, in a ‘last refuge of the scoundrel’ sense!) and the spreading of goodwill on the island is best served by Irish sports fans celebrating and taking pride in ALL Irish sporting achievement, whether it’s the goal-scoring record of David Healy or the recent success of Derry boxer John Duddy. Your position may well be political but it still helps perpetuate sectarian division.

  • Quagmire

    I know where you are coming from Charlie and I respect your opinion but for me it is not my inability to recognise and celebrate all Irish sporting achievement, as you put it, that gives succor to and perpetuates sectarianism on this Island but rather it is the imposition of an artificial border put there against the wishes of the vast majority of people on this Island that does this. It is a symbol of division and segregation and if Ireland is to really prosper in the future, sporting or otherwise, it must be removed. Sectarianism will thrive as long as it exists.