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FIFA’s proposed changes to eligibility rules may have major effect on Republic of Ireland team

FIFA have proposed major changes to their rules on player eligibility on the international stage.

Under current FIFA laws, a player cannot change their international allegiance once they have played a competitive game for a particular country.


Even if they have fallen out of favour with the national side, a player is currently bound to the country for which they earned a competitive cap.

However, that could all change if the new FIFA proposals are approved.

The changes would see a player become eligible to switch their allegiance if they had played no more than three games for their first national side before the age of 21 and at least three years before their requested move.


The Republic of Ireland have had many issues with FIFA eligibility rules in the past, most notably with Declan Rice.

In 2019, the West Ham player declared for England despite playing underage and senior games with the Republic of Ireland. However, because his three senior appearances came during friendlies, he was eligible to move to the English national side.

The proposed new rule could see more players follow in Rice’s footsteps. Currently, young players such as Michael Obafemi are tied to Ireland due to their senior caps. The 20-year-old made his Republic of Ireland debut during their UEFA Nations League clash with Denmark in 2018.

However, Obafemi is also eligible to play international football for England and Nigeria. Despite declaring for the Republic of Ireland, the proposed changes would allow him to switch allegiances if he is not happy.

The 70th FIFA Congress is set to take place on September 18 when the national federations will vote on the proposed changes. If approved, the new rule will come into effect from next month.

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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter