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The National Lottery – FIFA change the laws for UK representation

October 15, 2009

giggs england

Its funny how often we discuss rule changes and things we would like to see happen.

As many of you know, I’m an advocate of the use of technology…something FIFA wont even sniff at!

Recently there’s been all sorts of preposterous proposals regarding who is eligible to play for what country. Most of us are aware of the classic ‘grandparents’ rule, which allowed Jack Charlton to plunder the family trees of many players, who had only ever seen Ireland on the weather map on the BBC. And recently we have had the strange clamour to give Arsenal keeper Almunia a go for England, because hes lived here for a little while now, or for some similar daft reasoning.

One of the most famous non-arguments of the past twenty years has been the one about the left side of England’s attack, and why the English Schoolboys captain from 1989, named Ryan Wilson, opted not to play for the nation. The reason of course was that he was Welsh, by birth and heritage…oh and that boy changed his name to Ryan Giggs at the age of 16.

It was simple why Giggs never wanted to play for England. It is because he is not English. He spent his younger years in Cardiff… he didn’t ‘feel’ English.

But now FIFA have decided to play God once again, with a ruling that makes very little sense at all:

If you went to school in a country, you can now represent them at international level, regardless of where you are born.

The ruling folds out that if a nation has given you a minimum of 5 years of compulsory education, this now supersedes where you are born or what it says on your passport. Technically, we could ferry in every amazingly skillful kid from the slums of Brazil, stick them in school for a bit, and then not have an Englishman represent England at ALL!

Why do they feel the need to make rules like this? Who really benefits? I understand that if you are nationalised in a country that you could play for them. I do not have a problem with that. (Like Eduardo and Croatia) But why is it NOW that the Suits at FIFA think its a really great time to just stick this rule forward? It is beyond mentalism.

Ryan_Shawcross_878792aThe rule means now that Stoke’s promising centre-back, Englishman Ryan Shawcross, can now play for Wales….because he went to school there. Not because he is Welsh. Not because he is a naturalised Welshman. Not because he has ANYTHING at at all to do with Wales…but just because he ran around in his shorts and pumps in a Welsh school-ground. Do you follow this? I don’t.

It also means that had he not already plied his trade for England, that Michael Owen would now be eligible for Wales. And it also flips the lid on the case of Ryan Giggs. Had Giggsy been breaking through now as a 16 year old, he could have his head well and truly turned simply by a rule change, that would rob his country of their greatest ever player. Yes! that would be great for us English. But awful for Wales. As it stands, it will probably be the Welsh and Scottish that benefit the most from this rule change. In fact, it was the Scottish FA that proposed the rule change to FIFA. There are many kids who live one side of the borders, but their schools are on the other side. The city of Chester (birthplace of both Owen and Shawcross) are littered with kids in this scenario.

As it stands, the UK has had stricter eligibility rules than mainland Europe and have been more stringent in the face of fairness than FIFA have demanded over the years. We all hold British passports, but it is the criteria of the home nations and not that of the world football governing body, as to who plays for which country. Previously, if you were born in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, that was the country you had to play for. This was only superseded if you had a bloodline to another nation through that of your grandparents. Simple rule. Easy and effective.

Now the areas of black and white, have been turned into fluorescent shades of grey. Today it is not really a problem, but oh lordy!.. in 5 years time it will be. Scotland and Wales will battle for every English kid that’s not quite good enough for England but went to school a few hundred yards inside their national borders…and between now and then that will equate to thousands of children…representing a nation that they have little or no affinity to. I’m sure as well that if a Ryan Giggs comes along with his unique set of circumstances that we will play our wildcard and nab him for ourselves.

But is that right?

It seems that FIFA do not really care about any of that.

Oh! And today Shawcross has said that he still “dreams of playing for England” but will now have to think about playing for Wales. Should he really have this choice?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 11:54 am

    This is going to make for a hot mess.

    • October 15, 2009 11:55 am

      Agreed. Do not understand it at all. There is alot of Scottish influence at UEFA and FIFA, and they have used some muscle to get this through. Bonkers

  2. October 15, 2009 12:28 pm

    Blatter has good ideas from time to time, but he’s usually too strict when applying them. I remember when he complaint on the great number of Brazilian players in another National Teams. He was kinda right, but his words could make someone think the Brazilians were conquering the world by getting into our National Teams.

    That ‘school ruling’ is absolutely non-sense. It’s kinda funny actually.

    When will they let players stop playing for one NT and start playing for another one? I think they should allow them to do that, at least ‘one change per career’.

  3. October 15, 2009 12:29 pm

    Would that be a bit like the very obviously Brazilian mush who played for Japan? I forget his name, no doubt “inho” something or other. You couldn’t miss him, six foot odd, heavily suntanned in a group of slitty eyed pygmies, besides which, he stood out from the rest because he could play.

    Seriously, what a barmy notion. No doubt Saudi Arabia or Qatar will win the FIFA World Cup in 2022 because their entire squads will be full of eighteen year old Italians and Germans.

    Bonkers!!!

    • October 15, 2009 1:11 pm

      Alex Santos.

      • October 15, 2009 7:04 pm

        Actually Alex Santos is similar to the Eduardo situation. He plied his trade in Japan for a while at Shimizu S-Pulse, and along the way, married a Japanese woman and had Japanese-Brazilian kids that would probably kick arse in Jujutsu/Capoiera.

        So when he was offered the chance to play for Japan, he decided to take it (plus he knew he wasn’t gonna represent Brazil anyway). It wasn’t his intention when he first went there, but his in-laws probably had some influence on it.

  4. October 15, 2009 12:40 pm

    It’s quite an interesting debate. In my country (germany) until very recently the only way to wear the national jersey was to be german “by blood”, which meant being able to trace your germanness by a few generation. In comparison, in france, you are born in france, you are french. That was reflected in the last 20 years when looking at the french national teams. Coutnries like France have the habit to give out french passeports to a lot of promising athletes…
    What Fifa is trying to do is to make weaker national sides stronger by simply adding talented players into any sort of national jersey. In the case of the UK this is particularly delicate, as the nuances between english, welsh, etc are very strong on the island and unknown in the rest of the world… doesn’t make it less true…

    • October 15, 2009 5:17 pm

      Poland would probably be good if the best Polskis didnt play for Germany….
      Ich wohnte im Worms wann Ich war ein kind, Schuey :-) Danke fur lesen der website!

      • October 15, 2009 5:29 pm

        Did you just ask Mr Schuey to send you some German crisps?

      • October 15, 2009 10:03 pm

        Haha no. I miss German chocolates and spaghetti eis but I shan’t bother Shuey with that.
        I said I lived in Worms(thats the name of the city) when I was a kid and thanks for reading. My German is rusty and I’m always trying to practice.

      • October 16, 2009 1:08 pm

        Hehe Katie, ich verstehe dein Deutsch :D

  5. October 16, 2009 7:48 am

    Diego and glamorousdiss
    Thanks to you both, a bit of a sloppy post by me wasn’t it?
    Ahead of the proposed rule change, Alex Santos appears to tick all the boxes doesn’t he.

  6. maserati4200 permalink
    October 16, 2009 3:09 pm

    Not sure about Giggsy’s sartorial elegance in this pic…

    Can’t quite figure out whether the shorts are too short or the socks aren’t long enough, or whether both apply!

    He should’ve taped the ears back also.

    A pic to burn before the Man United dressing room fashionistas see it, prolly.

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