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Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:48 UK

Fifa change to benefit Africa

Marseille striker Mamadou Samassa
Marseille's Mamadou Samassa could benefit from the Fifa rule change

Football's world governing body Fifa has removed the age limit for players who want to switch national allegiance.

Previously players who had represented one country at youth level had to make the choice to change by the age of 21.

But Fifa's congress in the Bahamas has approved a motion from Algeria to abandon that restriction.

The move opens the way for players like Dennis Aogo and Mamadou Samassa to represent the country of a parent's birth.

Aogo has been called up by Nigeria, even though under the previous rules he was too old to make the change.

Nigeria have also tried to call up Carlton Cole in the past but he is now more likely to concentrate on England, having been called into Fabio Capello's squad for the qualifier in Kazakhstan and the home game against Andorra.

Samassa has applied to Fifa for clearance to play for Mali, despite also being over the age of 21.

Algeria, who proposed the motion, could now have access to several players who have featured in France's youth teams.

They include Lazio midfielder Mourad Meghni, who was born in France to Algerian parents and has represented France at youth level but has never played for the full national side.

The removal of the age limit is the only change to the regulations - all other restrictions will apply.

In line with Fifa regulations the change of rules will come into effect 60 days after the vote.

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see also
Mali, France set for tug-of-war
28 May 09 |  African
Mali face Samassa disappointment
22 May 09 |  African
Nigeria refuse to give up on Cole
29 Aug 08 |  African
Nigeria make Cole call-up blunder
05 Aug 08 |  African
Nigeria in another call-up clanger
27 Apr 09 |  African

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