Saturday, March 21, 2009


Out of Africa

An interesting story in the SMH yesterday from Mike Cockerill, detailing the changes to eligibility rules being implemented by FIFA, in response to some recent shameless manipulation by certain countries.

Cockerill mentions the example of Qatar, but the real coping stone to FIFA's alterations has probably been the ridiculous number of players currently being naturalised by African countries (notably Togo and Equatorial Guinea) to get a leg-up on their rivals. The whole sorry tale has been covered in some depth by World Soccer's Africa correspondent Mark Gleeson in the April issue of the magazine.

The implications for Australia, with our current influx of young refugee talent from Africa, are obviously serious. And one wonders whether the picture painted by John Didulica is really accurate:

FIFA have been very helpful, and given us the impression they are prepared to be flexible. It will be done on a case-by-case basis, and there will be exceptions made.

A case-by-case basis? An administrative nightmare for FIFA, surely.

Another consideration which is obviously relevant for Australia is that although FIFA have now clamped down on the fast-food naturalisation epidemic, there remains the anomaly of players with dual nationality being able to airily pick and choose where they will play their international football, without needing to spend any time in the country in question. It is richly ironic that, after we have made such copious use of our migrant population for the last four decades, the European defection problem is now such a pain in the Ognenovski.

A passport is a passport (well, give or take the odd Veron or Recoba), but there must be room for some tighter regulation here. Countries that have developed players, often at taxpayer expense, are surely entitled to first dibs on their services - and the problems that arise when an "international bidding war" ensues are well-known.

Now that FIFA have dealt with the matter of cynical naturalisation, it's time for a look at the "what's my nationality again?" turncoats.

Pretty pathetic from FIFA regarding Equatorial Guinea & Djibouti- obviously not important enough in the scheme of things to warrant proper policing.

I now sincerely hope the 6+5 rule is either scrapped or modified. Player's witholding representing a national team, or cynically declaring allegiance to certain nations is certain to be become a problem. International football has been cheapened enough as it is.
i kinda look at the dual nationality types in a different light ...

i think international football is a matter of the heart (sometimes), and there will be players who want to play for the homeland cos thats where their heart is.

whilst many players will look at national duty as a career furthering opportunity and try to create a bidding war for their services, i think the first group does exist.

i really don`t like the idea of telling these players that they have to play for country X. i think they should play for who they want to.

if australia or another country doesn`t like the fact that they spent taxpayer money on developing players, they should make those developing players agree something like "if i declare for another country after attending the AIS then i agree to return the cost of my training at the AIS, which is $1,000,000 (or whatever it is)".

I wrote about this topic

I would like to hear your opinion on this issue.
...I wrote about this topic

I would like to hear your opinion on this issue....

Thanks for the link. Broadly agree with your comments, although I think there's room for some leeway/negotiation on the heredity issue. But it's certainly an anomaly ATM.
Thanks mike

About the leeway for the heredity issue. Perhaps a two tier residential system.

For everyone else they have to live in the country for 5 years. If your parents are from that country you only have to live there for 2 years before you become eligible. I think that's a good compromise. This will mean players like Mark Viduka would be eligible for Croatia.
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