Tuesday, 2 March 2010

FIFA, Feruz and the new law

Is it possible that in the not so distant future the Scottish national team could consist entirely of players born outside of the country?

The chief executive of the Scottish Football Association Gordon Smith had been lobbying FIFA to utilise the new eligibility rule, agreed by the home nations, allows a player who was born in one country but spends at least five years of his education in another country to opt to be eligible for the latter.

With new manager Craig Levein compiling a definitive dossier of every player who may be eligible and stating he will be contacting every agent in the United Kingdom in a bid to assess who could be a future star for the country.

On 13 October 2009, Islam Feruz became the first player to use the new FIFA rule that meant despite being born in Somalia he could play for the Scotland Football team as he had been schooled in Scotland for the required five years.
Feruz, 15, came to Glasgow seven years ago with his mother and two younger sisters, seeking asylum because of violence between rival warlords.

While only 13 in 2008 he made his debut for Celtic under 19s and just under a year later he made his first team debut in the Tommy Burns Tribute Match. International honours soon followed and on 20 October 2009 Feruz made his international debut for Scotland's national under-17 football team against Cyprus U17s.

Feruz has been described as the best player of his generation by his youth coaches at Celtic and Scotland and he says “I have been very proud to live in Scotland. It’s a great country which is now my home and I will be proud to wear the Scotland jersey,”

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