FIFA clears winger’s switch to Ireland from Northern Ireland

ZURICH (AP) — After a two-year pursuit by the Ireland Football Association, Michael Duffy’s transfer of national team eligibility from Northern Ireland was cleared on Thursday.

FIFA said Thursday it approved the change of association for the former Northern Ireland youth and Under-21 international.

The 26-year-old winger was called up by Northern Ireland for a World Cup qualifying game in 2016 then withdrew from the squad before the team played the Czech Republic.

Duffy was targeted in 2018 by Ireland’s then-coach, Martin O’Neill. The paperwork required by FIFA was not yet complete when his former manager at Dundalk, Stephen Kenny, took over last year.

Duffy played for Dundalk in nine Europa League games this season, including both against Arsenal in the group stage. He had a two-year spell at Celtic without breaking into the first team.

FIFA has also processed the Canadian association’s request to select former Portugal defender Ricardo Ferreira.

The Canada-born former AC Milan player was able to switch because his one selection by Portugal was not in a competitive game. Ferreira played in a 2017 friendly against the United States, which gave teenagers Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams debuts that day.

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