Players must produce passports before matches to confirm eligibility.

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FIFA has amended its own rules, including a decision to restart abandoned World Cup qualifying matches from the point the clock stopped, rather than replaying the entire game.

Players must also produce a valid passport 24 hours before kick-off as evidence of their eligibility.

In 2014 World Cup qualifying groups, ineligible players proved the biggest administrative problem for FIFA.

Africa was the only one of FIFA’s six continental confederations that had problems with federations failing to gain proper clearance for players.

Seven African countries – Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Liberia, Sudan and Togo – fielded players who did not have valid clearance, forcing FIFA to award 3-0 wins to their opponents.

FIFA rule changes for 2018 World Cup:

  • FIFA now requires matches abandoned during play to be restarted at a later date with the same line-ups from the point the clock stopped. Previously a full 90-minute replay was ordered.
  • A player without a valid passport shall not be entitled to play. Identity cards or other supporting official documents shall not be accepted.
  • FIFA has abolished the maximum fine limit of 1m Swiss francs (£700,000) for federations if a team that qualifies to play in Russia is withdrawn within 30 days of the opening match or during the tournament.
  • Goal-line technology can be used in qualifying matches, if both teams give written consent.
  • Cooling breaks can be ordered by referees in qualifiers.