FIFA rejects relaxing residency rule

FIFA rejects relaxing residency rule

Published Jun. 1, 2011 3:38 p.m. ET

FIFA members have rejected an attempt by the United Arab Emirates to relax eligibility rules for foreign-born players.

The UAE got only 42 votes Wednesday at the FIFA Congress for its proposal that would allow players 18 or older to switch countries after three years' residence instead of five. Following FIFA's advice, 153 countries voted against; 11 abstained.

UAE soccer president Mohamed al-Rumaithi argued change was good for countries trying to qualify for the World Cup.

However, the proposal was interpreted as a way for richer countries to import overseas players with offers of citizenship.


In 2008, FIFA increased the residency requirement to five years from two.