Zurich, June 2 : FIFA members have rejected the United Arab Emirates' request to relax international eligibility rules so players could switch allegiance after three years' residence.
The UAE wanted the rule eased from five years but only 42 national associations backed the proposal. Following FIFA's official position, 153 voted against.
FIFA legal committee chairman Angel Maria Villar said the proposal applying to foreign-born players aged over 18 would damage national teams' identity.
UAE football leader Mohamed al-Rumaithi argued change was good for small countries trying to qualify for the World Cup. Al-Rumaithi suggested it would benefit countries with large expatriate communities.In 2008, FIFA increased the residency requirement to five years from two. AP