FIFA imposes new passport rule for World Cup qualifiers

FIFA has tightened player eligibility rules for the World Cup after eight African qualifying matches were defaulted for the 2014 tournament.

FIFA regulations for the 2018 program say that only passports are “valid proof of a player’s identity and nationality.” Each player’s passport must be shown to FIFA’s match delegate the day before kickoff.

The new rule states: “Identity cards or other supporting official documents shall not be accepted.”

Seven different African teams fielded ineligible players in qualifying group matches for the 2014 World Cup, forcing FIFA to award 3-0 wins to their opponents.

In 2013, FIFA’s competitions director pledged to “address something that obviously went wrong.”

FIFA says it “can’t speculate on what could have happened in the past should the new regulations had been in place.”

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