After several months of suspense and wait, Munir El Haddadi obtained, green light from Fifa to play in the Moroccan football team. The Lekjaa reform, according to the wishes formulated by several players in the sports world, established more flexible conditions for changing nationality.
Munir El Haddadi and Vahid Halilhodzic were right to hang on to the change of nationality desired by the Moroccan player. His dream becomes a reality. The Lekjaa reform, which allows binationals to change their sporting nationality under certain conditions, was adopted on Friday, September 18. But the Spanish-Moroccan player, who wanted to play for Morocco, was blocked by one criterion.
The current Sevilla FC striker played three games with the Spanish U21 selection, as part of the Euro espoir qualifiers in September 2016. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation had seized at the time the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) so that the dispute is settled. However, the negative response from CAS did not dampen the player’s ardor.
On January 28, FIFA issued a circular explaining how to use this reform and how it will come into effect. The world body has released a commentary on the rules governing eligibility to play for a representative team. “The September 2020 reform took into account several situations deemed to be excessively severe or severe which were pointed out by member associations or revealed in practice, and codified the jurisprudence of the Players’ Status Commission. Four new exceptions allowing a change of association have been added,” FIFA said of the Lekjaa reform.
This reform, in its article 9, stipulates that the change of sporting nationality is granted to any player who already held the nationality of the association he wishes to represent before playing for his current association in an official competition, at any level whatsoever and in any football discipline whatsoever; who was not yet 21 years old at the time of his last match in official competition with his current association, in any football discipline whatsoever or who has not played more than three matches (in official or unofficial competition) for its current association at the international “A” level, in any football discipline. Also eligible, any binational player, who has spent at least three years without playing for his current association since the last time he did so, in an official or unofficial competition, at the international “A” level and in whatever football discipline.
These are all new arrangements that allow Munir El Haddadi to play with the Atlas Lions. In 2014, he had his only selection with Spain. He was 19.