Previous regulations specified that players who were not born in the territory and had no parents or grandparents born in the territory of a country of which they have nationality had to have resided there continuously for at least five years after the age of 18 to be eligible for the national team. These requirements were introduced in order to limit the number of non-national players in international matches, as many countries did not want to risk being barred from major competitions such as the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship due to discrimination against foreigners.
However, following complaints by several countries that these rules prevented them from selecting their best players, FIFA amended its regulations in December 2009 to allow players to be naturalized during their career. The new rule states that national teams may include up to three naturalized players in their squad, with the approval of their respective associations. It also allows for those players who are not yet full citizens to represent Canada at the youth level.
Canada's men's national soccer team has never been officially banned from any tournament because of discrimination issues, but it has been criticized for using too many foreign players on some occasions. In an attempt to improve its performance at the international level, Canada's soccer federation approved a plan in November 2014 to introduce more domestic players into its squads. The move was intended to give Canadian players a better chance of being selected for national team games.
Only players who have more than one nationality, have acquired a new nationality, or are entitled to represent more than one association owing to their nationality are permitted to switch national teams. Once a request is submitted, a player is ineligible to play for any national team until all paperwork is completed. If a player switches while he is registered with a club, the club has the right to ask that he is released by his new team before returning to play for the previous one.
In addition to these rules, FIFA may decide at any time that it does not consider a player eligible to play for the national team of another country. Such cases include when a player is born in but represents another country at international level, or when a player has dual citizenship with another country. When this happens, they cannot play for their original country unless they choose to do so through federation channels.
Players can change their mind about switching nations after signing with their new team and before receiving their passport. In such cases, they remain eligible to play for their old team in order to qualify for prizes and trophies that have been awarded already. For example, if France decides to re-enter World Cup qualifying because of successful applications from several countries including its former colonies, players who had switched nations to join those countries' professional leagues would still be allowed to play for France.
France withdrew from world football in October 1962 due to French protests about playing matches against foreign teams that included professionals.
In 1993, the associations of these four nations reached an agreement on international eligibility, which states that a player with a British passport is entitled to play for the country of his birth, the country of either of his natural parents, or the country of either of his natural grandparents. If you have the required qualifications, then you are able to represent any one of these countries when they call you up to the full national team.
In addition to these rules, players must be available for selection and not representing another country to be considered for selection to the full England squad. However, if an English player decides to represent another country at any point during their career, they are free to do so, provided they have not yet qualified for its national team. Players can change their nationality via a citizenship application form, providing that it is processed within eight months of becoming 18 years old. A player who changes their nationality will lose their place in the current squad but may be called up by new manager Roy Hodgson if he feels they contribute greatly to the team's cause.
Other countries whose citizens can represent Britain include Ireland because they share a common language, and Wales because they were part of the United Kingdom until 1998. Scotland used to be part of this arrangement but now selects its own players.
However, none of these countries has access to the Olympic Games due to political issues between some of them and Britain.