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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA to consider relaxing rules against switching national allegiances

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson assess Australia's keys to defeating Honduras and advancing to the 2018 World Cup.
Herculez Gomez assesses which of the qualified CONCACAF teams can make the deepest run at the World Cup.
The FC panel caution Australia not to underestimate a gritty Honduras side in the intercontinental playoff.

FIFA is examining possible changes to its rules regarding players' nationalities that could loosen restrictions on players' switching allegiances.

The Cape Verde football federation has proposed a rule change for players to change countries if they have little hope of being recalled to their original national teams after making only one or two appearances.

Under FIFA "cap-tying" rules, footballers who have played in a competitive game for one country may not change, but vice president Victor Montagliani said this week that those bylaws have some issues.

"There are so many issues that have popped up over the years because the world is changing, immigration is changing," said Montagliani, who is also president of the Canadian federation and regional body CONCACAF, according to Reuters.

"There are nationality issues that pop up all over the world, in Africa, there are issues in Asia and CONCACAF, so its a good time to have a look at this and see if there are solutions, without hurting the integrity of the game."

FIFA may also consider compensating national federations when players appear for youth teams but then switch allegiances for the senior team.

Montagliani also said he would look into possibly increasing the five-year requirement for a player to reside within a country before becoming eligible to play for a national team.

Montagliani spoke to reporters after a meeting of the FIFA stakeholders committee on Thursday, where a tentative agreement relating to unpaid player wages and transfer fees was reached.

A complaint to the European Commission challenging the "anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal" transfer market is set to be withdrawn by the FIFPro union after two years.

"It was an issue that was stewing for a long, long, long time," Montagliani said. "Because of our impetus they came to an agreement."

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