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The Changing Nationality of Umit Ciftci

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So, it seems my young German-born striker can't decide if he wants to be German or Turkish, having come through with Turkish as a second nationality.

At U19 level, he was German all the way and, as you can see, was quite successful. But then he disappeared into an international quagmire.

At the age of 25, he was called up to the Turkish senior squad and played in a friendly, against Germany no less.

Three short months later, he was called up to the German senior squad for the first time- because he's only played in a non-competitive friendly for Turkey, this is perfectly acceptable. He has a good game- again in a friendly- against Uruguay, scoring twice on his debut.

BUT WAIT! Now Turkey have called him back, for a World Cup Qualifier against Albania, in which he also scored (although, oddly, his previous senior cap for Turkey is not included in his current caps/goals tally). So, now that he's played competitively for them, he seems to have settled on Turkey. We'll see. I'm sure he can find some loophole to let him play for Germany again...

So, while I know there are probably a good few players who've represented two nations due to the non-competitive rule, this led me to wonder if anyone has a player who's been eligible for and represented three or even more different nations at a senior level?

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So, while I know there are probably a good few players who've represented two nations due to the non-competitive rule, this led me to wonder if anyone has a player who's been eligible for and represented three or even more different nations at a senior level?

Alfredo Di Stefano played for 3 different countries ----> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfredo_Di_Stéfano

Di Stéfano played with three different national teams during his career: he played six times with the Argentine national team, twice with Colombia (not recognized by FIFA) and 31 times with the Spanish national team. However, he never played in the World Cup Finals.

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More recently, there was a player who played for Yugoslavia, Serbia and then Montenegro (I think, apologies if one of the countries is wrong). Slightly different circumstances but has happened.

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More recently, there was a player who played for Yugoslavia, Serbia and then Montenegro (I think, apologies if one of the countries is wrong). Slightly different circumstances but has happened.

Dejan Stanković, you were almost right as it was Yugoslavia, Serbia & Montenegro and then Serbia.

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Ryan Giggs played for England

No he didn't. He played for England school boys because he was in school IN ENGLAND. He could never have played for an England national side.

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No he didn't. He played for England school boys because he was in school IN ENGLAND. He could never have played for an England national side.

I'm well aware he played for the schoolboys as Ryan Wilson. I didn't make reference anywhere to the full side.

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I'm well aware he played for the schoolboys as Ryan Wilson. I didn't make reference anywhere to the full side.

The point is that the eligibility rules are completely different for Schoolboy teams. I'm sure you are already aware of that.

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Robert Prosinecki - Croatia and Yugoslavia

Again, totally different circumstances, as Yugoslavia ceased to exist as a country (and National Football team, though I probably didn't need to mention that!).

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Technically, this is impossible in real-life and should be looked at.

It would be perfectly fine that he played a friendly for Turkey and was still eligible to represent Germany if he didn't have any German U19 caps. However, a player is allowed to change his "football nationality" only once which he did by changing from Germany (capped at U19) to Turkey (in order to be capped for the senior/A side).

Therefore he did Germany (U19)->Turkey (A)->Germany (A)->Turkey (A) while in fact he was just allowed to do Germany (U19)->Turkey (A), regardless of the fact if he was capped for Turkey subsequently or not. By "changing nations" you become locked to that country, even if you do not play a single game for them.

For example, Eldin Jakupović played for Bosnia & Herzegovina U21 and switched to Switzerland U21. Although he was out of favor later on in the Swiss team, he couldn't switch back to Bosnia & Herzegovina although he didn't play a single senior game for them at the time. He has one friendly cap for Switzerland and is still ineligible to represent Bosnia & Herzegovina so he subsequently retired from the Swiss national team.

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Source: wikipedia FIFA_eligibility_rules

There are no restrictions on players that wish to switch national associations at youth level. Alex Zahavi has represented the Israel under-21s, the United States under-20s, the Portugal under-19s, the Portugal under-18s and the Portugal under-17s.[29]
Under the criteria generally, it is possible for a player to have a choice of representing one of several national teams. In June 2009, FIFA Congress passed a motion that removed the age limit for players who had already played for a country's national team at youth level to change national associations.
Unless geopolitical changes play a role, players are generally not allowed to switch nationalities if they have made senior appearances for one FIFA-recognised country in competitive fixtures.

To recap:

- Umit plays for the Germany U19 team = perfectly acceptable.

- Umit plays a friendly cap for Turkey = perfectly acceptable. He has both a turkish and german passport, as an adult he's free to choose between both countries.

- Umit plays a friendly cap for Germany = perfectly acceptable. The turkish cap was a friendly match, not a competitive one.

- Umit plays in a World Cup Qualifier and scores = perfectly acceptable. Both the turkish cap and the german cap were friendly, non-competitive matches.

Now, if he were to switch sides again it'd be a bug.

Regards,

LeBaiton

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Alex Zahavi played for Portugal U-17, USA U-20 and Israel U-21.

I am aware that this is just Wikipedia, but why does it say the following:

Zahavi has represented Portugal at various youth levels but has not been called into the senior team. Because he played in an official UEFA U17 qualifying tournament for Portugal, he is currently tied to their national team under FIFA eligibility rules. However, since he is also eligible to play for Israel or the United States, he can request a one-time only switch with FIFA.

As far as I understood he can play for all these teams:

1) Portugal, USA and Israel on youth level in all matches (qualifiers and friendlies);

2) Portugal, USA and Israel on senior level in only friendly matches;

3) Portugal on senior level in friendly matches.

If he changes from Portugal to USA with the "one-time switch", he can play only for USA, even if he doesn't get capped ever in his career, is that right?

It doesn't add up to me, I always had thought that a player needed to "officially switch national teams" even if he wants to play a friendly for a new nation on a senior level.

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Based on what LeBaiton has quoted, the Zahavi article appears to be incorrect- although that would also mean this article, from which the "one-time" part seems to come, is incorrect.

The current situation appears to be:

A) There is no correlation between who you represent at youth level and at senior level.

B) You may represent any number of teams at senior level in friendlies, but once you play a competitive match, you are tied to them.

This would make Umit Ciftci's movements unlikely but technically possible. It would also mean that Alex Zahavi is able to represent Portugal, USA or Israel at senior level until he plays in a competitive senior match.

Can anyone provide clarification?

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So there is no difference between U17 qualifiers and U17 friendlies for example?

As far as I know, you don't even have to be a citizen of a country if you play in a friendly senior match for them. I know that Ivica Grlić played for Bosnia & Herzegovina in several friendly games with a German passport/nationality before getting a Bosnian one for the qualifying matches.

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So there is no difference between U17 qualifiers and U17 friendlies for example?

As far as I know, you don't even have to be a citizen of a country if you play in a friendly senior match for them. I know that Ivica Grlić played for Bosnia & Herzegovina in several friendly games with a German passport/nationality before getting a Bosnian one for the qualifying matches.

They have to be competitive "A" team matches

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Thiago Motta played for both brazil and Italy. I think I've read somewhere that when you have dual nationalities and havn't played for you country for 5 years you're allowed to switch associations?

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Thiago Motta played for both brazil and Italy. I think I've read somewhere that when you have dual nationalities and havn't played for you country for 5 years you're allowed to switch associations?

Motta does seam to brake Fifa's own rules The Concacaf gold cup being I presume an "A" match so there must be more rules or they where changed after feb 2011.

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Motta got a specific clearance from FIFA since Brazil was playing in Confederations Cup with their U23 team, it's not an issue.

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