Following a decision passed by the Emergency Committee, any players who assume a new nationality without having a clear connection to that country will not be eligible to play for the national teams of the Association in question. On 11 March, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter had called upon the members of this body, which deals with all matters requiring immediate settlement between two meetings of the FIFA Executive Committee.

Blatter is delighted that the Emergency Committee shares his opinion in this matter: “Naturalisation that allows players with no obvious connection to the new country to play for that country’s national teams is not the aim and object of the Statutes. For that reason, we have to put an immediate stop to such practices. I will also bring this matter up at the Ordinary FIFA Congress in Paris on 20-21 May 2004 with the aim of amending our Statutes accordingly. I am sure that our Congress will also support this point of view.”

The intention of a number of Brazilian players to play for the Qatari representative team had triggered this Emergency Committee decision. These players had referred to article 15, paragraph 1 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes, which states that if a player has never represented an Association, he may assume another nationality and play for the national team of the new country.

However, the Emergency Committee’s clarification adjudges such practices to be in contravention of the aim and object of the FIFA Statutes. To protect the aim and object of the above-mentioned statutory provision, the FIFA Emergency Committee has ruled that for a player to be eligible to play for another Association’s national team, he must fulfil at least one of the following 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.

These conditions ensure that a player has a clear connection with the country in question. As the cases are similar from a factual point of view, the Emergency Committee has applied the same conditions that govern the eligibility of players who are theoretically eligible to play for several Association teams on account of their nationality.

The FIFA Emergency Committee’s decision is final and legally valid.