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Munir El Haddadi will play for Morocco soon, says Moroccan FA chief

Karim Farouk , Monday 3 Jul 2017
Barcelona
Barcelona's Munir el Haddadi (Reuters)
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Moroccan FA chairman Fouzi Lekhaa has confirmed that former Spain international Munir El Haddadi will soon play for the Atlas Lions after the 21-year-old winger requested a nationality switch to play for his country of origin.

"We have a solid case and we are on course for changing the sporting nationality of Munir El Haddadi. The upcoming weeks will bring good news for his Moroccan fans," Lekhaa was quoted as saying by Moroccan website Lions de l'Atlas.

"We have been in contact with officials from the Spanish Federation, and we keep very good relations with them and are working towards solving this issue," he added.

El Haddadi made his rise in 2014 playing for Barcelona before spending last season on loan at Valencia.

The trickster winger represented Spain's U21 team and was called up for Spain's senior squad for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia on 8 September 2014.

El Haddadi came up as a late substitute to play in the final 13 minutes of the game, and has not featured for la Furia Roja since.

Three years later, he has submitted a request to play for Morocco.

"It is unconceivable and unfair to sacrifice the international career of a player who only played 13 minutes with Spain, and not even in an important game," Lekhaa said.

"FIFA must seriously reconsider its regulations. I will talk to [FIFA head Gianni] Infantino and will use all my influence to make sure El Haddadi plays for his country Morocco."

According to the FIFA statutes and its rules of eligibility to play for representative teams (articles 5 to 8), a player who wants to change nationality must not have played in a match in an official "A level" international competition for his current association.

The player must also have held the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current association, according to Article 8.1.a.  

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