El Haddadi's move follows the approval of the FIFA during the annual congress today.
Rabat – Morocco’s international football player Munir El Haddadi is now officially eligible to be a player for the Atlas Lions, the Moroccan National Football Team, as of September 18.
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) reviewed amendments relating to eligibility during its annual congress on Friday, which took place online due to the spread of COVID-19.
The 70th FIFA Congress saw the vote on whether to allow footballers who have played for one national team change their affiliation and play for another.
The outcome determined whether the 24-year-old player could join the Moroccan team or would have to remain with Spain.
Munir El Haddadi, born in Spain to Moroccan parents, made a brief appearance as a substitute with the Spanish National Team against Macedonia in 2014.
This prevented him from playing with the Moroccan team and joining the Atlas Lions for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
After El Haddadi expressed his wish to join the Moroccan squad for the World Cup, the Moroccan Royal Football Federation (FRMF) approached FIFA to allow him to join the team.
Several other football associations approached FIFA with similar requests. This led the body to reconsider its rules and potentially give players the option to switch national teams, after playing for another one.
Munir El Haddadi’s qualifying factors
FIFA’s newly-amended clauses state that the request to join a national team shall be approved if “at the time of being fielded for his last match in an official competition in any kind of football for his current association, he had not turned 21 years old.”
El Haddadi, who is now 24, was only 18 when he briefly featured in the 2014 game for the Spanish team.
Other eligibility requirements also suggest that “at the time of being fielded for his first match in an official competition (at any level) in any kind of football for his current association, he held the nationality of the association which he wishes to represent.”
In addition, El Haddadi only participated with Spain once. The amended FIFA regulations say that the applicant should have participated in no more than three matches with the first national team, at an international level, whether in a friendly or an official competition.
Additional regulations require at least three years between the player’s participation with one national team before they may be eligible to join another. Munir El Haddadi exceeds this requirement, with seven years since he played for Spain.
Finally, the player must not have participated at the “A” international level in final tournaments of the World Cup for a final tournament of a confederation competition. Here, El Haddadi again meets the eligibility requirements.
Munir El Haddadi, an asset for Morocco
El Haddadi now plays for Sevilla, after leaving Barcelona in January 2019 for a fee of €1.05 million.
After he left the Catalan club, it wrote on Twitter: “A star of the U19 side that won the UEFA Youth League title in 2013/14, Munir made a total of 56 appearances for F.C. Barcelona and won the league twice, the Copa del Rey twice, a Champions League, a FIFA Club World Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, and two Spanish Super Cups. The striker also scored 12 goals for the Barca first team in official competition.”
The Spanish giant also praised him for “his dedication and commitment.”
During his youth, the Moroccan-Spanish footballer played for several Spanish clubs, including Atletico Madrid and Rayo Majadahonda. He also joined Alaves on loan for the 2017-2018 season.
Munir El Haddadi is likely to participate with the Atlas Lions in two friendly matches scheduled in October against Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The two matches will take place respectively on October 9 and October 13 in Rabat, as part of the preparation for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).