New FIFA proposal would give some cap-tied players more flexibility to switch national teams

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A new proposal from FIFA could give players more leeway to change the the national teams they represent if they have fallen out of favor with their current national team, with several caveats.

The proposed change would allow a player to switch allegiances provided they meet the following conditions:

  1. They have received no more than three caps with their current national team
  2. All three of those appearances came at age 21 or younger
  3. At least three years have passed since their last cap
  4. None of those appearances occurred in a FIFA World Cup Finals or a confederation final tournament
  5. They are otherwise eligible for multiple national teams

The rule change would impact relatively few players, but could theoretically cut back on national programs cap tying players simply to keep them further from the reach of other national team programs. It will be voted upon at the 70th FIFA Congress, to be hosted virtually next month from Zurich.

Players of any age are already free to switch national representation if they have only appeared in friendly matches for a national team. Under the proposed change, players could also appear in World Cup or confederation qualifying matches, or other official tournaments such as the UEFA or Concacaf Nations League, and still switch national teams if they meet the five criteria above.