Scots hope for eligibility change

stewart12By Stewart Primrose

Foreign-born players could soon be allowed to play for Scotland, despite not having a direct Scottish bloodline.

Hearts winger Andrew Driver could be the first to benefit. He was born in England but is keen on playing for Scotland. Under the current rules he would be prevented from doing so, but if the rules are amended at the end of the season, he may be wearing the dark blue of Scotland.

SFA Chief Executive Gordon Smith hopes to extend the criteria to those who have had at least five years schooling.

“We hope to take the proposal to FIFA by the end of the season. If you have been educated here, you are not just here to play football. You have not just come here to take advantage of a regulation.

Smith is still wary of the idea of allowing players like Rangers’ Nacho Novo to change nationality. Novo has played football in Scotland for eight years and is looking into the possibility of making himself available to Scotland. Smith is not receptive to this idea.

“If you are Spanish, for example, come here and play football for five or six years and all of a sudden you get a British passport and you’re Scottish; we don’t think that is the right way to receive recognition.”

“Under FIFA rules, Nacho Novo could have played for Scotland, but we the associations of Great Britain had ruled that out and left it for birth in the country or bloodline, which was parent or grandparent,” explained Smith.

A decision is expected at the end of the season and still needs the English FA to agree on any proposal.