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“The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer has helped me immensely with great information and perspective.”


Bob Bradley, former US and Egyptian national coach

"James Dorsey’s The Turbulent World of Middle Eastern Soccer (has) become a reference point for those seeking the latest information as well as looking at the broader picture."
Alon Raab in The International Journal of the History of Sport

“Dorsey’s blog is a goldmine of information.”

Play the Game

"Your expertise is clearly superior when it comes to Middle Eastern soccer."
Andrew Das, The New York Times soccer blog Goal

"Dorsey statement (on Egypt) proved prophetic."
David Zirin, Sports Illustrated

"Essential Reading"
Change FIFA

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Richard Whitall of A More Splendid Life

"James combines his intimate knowledge of the region with a great passion for soccer"
Christopher Ahl, Play the Game

"An excellent Middle East Football blog"
James Corbett, Inside World Football


Friday, May 6, 2011

FIFA Discusses Easing Rules on Foreign Players


World soccer body FIFA is considering a proposal by the United Arab Emirates to ease rules under which foreign-born players can play for a national team other than the one of the country they were born in.

The new rules, if adopted at the FIFA Congress scheduled to be held in Zurich on May 31, could revive attempts by Qatar and other countries to boost their international soccer performance by luring foreign-born players with lucrative financial packages and promises of citizenship.

The UAE proposal would allow a player over the age of 18 to live only three years in a new country rather than the current five years before he can play for its national team.

The UAE proposal is expected to encounter opposition from many in the soccer world who fee that the current regulations are already too relaxed and allow players to switch nationalities too easily.

Players needed until 2004 only to have the passport of the country of the national team they played for to be qualified by FIFA.

That rule was changed after FIFA blocked Qatar from signing up Brazilian players Ailton Goncales da Silva, Leonardo de Deus Santos (Dede) and Leandro Da Silva.

Fifa ruled that players must have lived in their country for at least two years before they could play for it. That was later increased to five years.

FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter quipped at the time that he could envision a World Cup being played with teams full of Brazilian players who had changed nationalities.

Qatar is not the only country to see foreign players as a shortcut to soccer stardom. 

Portugal and Mexico have fielded foreign-born players with no parental connections to the country, as have a number of African countries.

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