FIFA has drafted an emergency measure to stop players taking advantage of the governing body’s regulations to switch nationalities.
The new measure means any player who adopts a new nationality without having a clear connection to that country will not be eligible to play for the national team.
Qatar said last week it would naturalise three Brazilians to bolster their team ahead of qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup. The trio had no previous link with Qatar.
FIFA said on Wednesday players would now have to show strong links with their adopted country through their parents or grandparents, or show they have lived there for two years, to be able to play for the national team.
“Naturalisation that allows players with no obvious connection to the new country to play for that country’s national teams is not the aim and object of the statutes,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a statement.
“For that reason, we have to put an immediate stop to such practices. I will also bring this matter up at the ordinary FIFA congress in Paris on 20-21 May 2004 with the aim of amending our statutes accordingly.”