Monday, December 10, 2007
The influx of African footballing talent in Europe should go up by an e higher number in the next few years after the Swedish Football Federation (SFF) ruled that from next season on, Swedish clubs can feature any number of African players.
This comes after Spain announced African players would not count as non-EU players anymore. The footballing world is starting to see the talents of the African footballer.
The SFF made the ruling in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, a treaty signed in Benin in 2000 by members of the EU and a group of 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP).
The agreement stipulates that nationals from those countries working legally in Europe should have the same rights as EU citizens.
"We had a choice between breaking the law and respecting EU regulations," Swedish football boss Lars-Ake Lagrell said.
Previously, only three non-European players were allowed to play for a club.
Helsingborg, a club with five Africans, earlier this year called for the federation to implement the accord.
At the time the SFF said it could not make any changes since the regulations for the season had already been adopted.
Helsingborg director Bo Nilsson told BBC Sport that the decision is a victory for his club.
"We are pleased. The decision is fair and it is a respect for international law. Before there was discrimination," he added.
Liberia defender Jimmy Dixon who plays for Malmo FF welcomed the ruling as a one of the best things to happen to African footballers.
"It will give more opportunities to African footballers in Sweden. Before it was hard to make it," Dixon said.
Good news. Let's see how the Africans fare now that the borders are open. Immigration is a good thing and I believe the more people see the African player, the better.