In a win over FIFA at sport’s highest court, Serie A midfielder Nedim Bajrami has won the right to switch his allegiances from Switzerland to Albania.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said its panel upheld an appeal by Empoli’s Bajrami and the Albania soccer federation against a FIFA judge rejecting their request in May.
The urgent ruling clears the 22-year-old Bajrami to be selected for Albania in World Cup qualification games this week against Poland and Hungary.
Bajrami has Albanian family roots but grew up in Switzerland and represented their teams from youth level through to the under-21s.
“The panel considered that Nedim Bajrami never played with the Swiss (senior) national team and already held Albanian nationality,” the court said.
Bajrami split with Switzerland in March when he declined selection for the under 21 European Championship.
FIFA rules allow dual-national players to change their eligibility once, but it had ruled Bajrami did not have formal dual-nationality status when he began representing Switzerland.
CAS held a fast-track hearing by video-link last week to make a decision ahead of the international break.