Bajrami tackles FIFA rules on switching national teams

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Challenging FIFA rules on how players can switch national teams, midfielder Nedim Bajrami and the Albanian soccer federation had their case heard by sport’s highest court on Tuesday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said the appeal hearing was held remotely by video link. No target date was set for a verdict.

Bajrami, a No. 10 playmaker at newly promoted Serie A club Empoli, was blocked by FIFA this year from changing his eligibility to Albania from Switzerland.

The 22-year-old Bajrami represented Switzerland, where he grew up, from youth level to the under-21 team through 2020.

His split with Switzerland came in March when he declined selection for the U21 European Championship.

However, FIFA rejected the application by Bajrami and Albanian officials to change his eligibility to Albania from Switzerland.

FIFA ruled that although Bajrami has family ties to Albania, he did not already have formal dual-nationality status when he began playing for Switzerland.

FIFA relaxed its rules on eligibility last year to extend the circumstances when dual-national players could change, but Bajrami’s case was judged still not to comply.

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