Fifa make no allowance for minors moving from Republic of Ireland to British clubs

World governing body amends rules to allow players to move within UK jurisdictions

Fifa has amended its rules to ensure that 16- and 17-year-old players will be allowed to move within the four football jurisdictions of Britain after the process of Brexit is completed on January 1st, 2021.

No allowance was made at Friday’s council meeting for minors from the Republic of Ireland to move to Britain, however, the firmest indication yet that the federation does not intend to make such an exception.

“Acknowledging that the United Kingdom – one state with four separate FIFA member associations – will be leaving the European Union, the Council approved an amendment to the regulations to avoid situations in which minors would be unable to transfer within the same state,” said the game’s governing body in a statement on Friday.

“This amendment will apply generally to all situations where there are more than one association in the territory of a country and it will allow the transfer of players aged between 16 and 18 between those associations.”


Between 30 and 50 players aged 16 or 17 are believed to move from the Republic of Ireland to English and, to a lesser extent, Scottish academies each year and there is widespread concern that preventing players travelling until the age of 18 would severely impact on their chances of establishing themselves with the bigger clubs. Legal experts have suggested, however, that such a restriction would be likely to be challenged in the courts.