Sat, Dec

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Senior Team will have to do without the services of Aston Villa player Jlloyd Samuel after a FIFA ruling has prevented him from switching  associations.

The 24-year-old player indicated his willingness to represent this country recently and appeared to be on the verge of lining up in the upcoming matches against Bahrain despite having represented England at the Under 21 and Under 18 level.

However, the English FA informed Aston Villa that the player was ineligible of representing T&T and following a letter to the TTFF from the Premiership club, the matter was carried to FIFA. The  world governing body then  responded on Wednesday by explaining the reason for Samuel’s ineligibility.

Heinz Tannler Director Legal Division for FIFA, stated “We have noted that the player has not performed for the A-representative team of the English FA. We understood however, that the player was born on 29 Match 1981. In principle, a player may only once request changing the Association for which he is eligible to play international matches, but only up to his 21st birthday (article 15 3 A). Regulations governing the application of the FIFA Statutes). For this reason, the 24-year-old Samuel is not entitled to this decision anymore.

Tannler further went on to explain that the clause of article 15 3 b does not apply for Samuel.

“In accordance with this provision a player who has already acquired eligibility to play for one association but has another nationality imposed upon him by a government authority, is entitled to change associations. This provision refers to the situation where several new states and consequently several new Football Associations arise from one former centralized state, for example, today’s state Slovenia arose from the former state Yugoslavia. A player who had the nationality of Yugoslavia and was entitled to play for the team of the Yugoslavian FA receipt the nationality of the new state Slovenia and was then entitled to play for the team of the new Football Federation of Slovenia. But this change of Association based not on the free decision of the player but was imposed by government authorities. These requirements are not given in the case of England in Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement read.

“This letter is without prejudice and is no formal decision. As a matter of fact, you may submit this issue to the FIFA Players’ Status Committee” the letter concluded.

It had also been noted that However, it has since been noted that a new FIFA ruling introduced in 2004 could have made Samuel eligible for T&T. It allowed 26-year-old  Freddie Kanoute to play for Mali’s senior team despite having represented France at the Under 21 level.

The switch was allowed under new rules introduced by FIFA in October 2003, allowing under-21-year-olds with dual nationality to switch national sides under certain conditions.  However that rule only allowed the change to take place during a one-year window after FIFA made the announcement.