Originally Posted by GingerFurball
I'm pretty sure under FIFA's eligibility rules I'd be eligible to play for England or Wales as a British national. However, the gentleman's agreement between the four home boards would prevent me from representing either, as I have no links to either through lineage, being born there or being schooled there.
Players born in British territories overseas, such as Matt Le Tissier, or anyone born in say, British bases in Germany or Cyprus are automatically eligible for all 4 nations. Players like Arteta who might opt to gain British citizenship would be eligible for all 4, but I'm pretty sure the gentleman's agreement would kick in and they'd only be eligible for the nation that they'd qualified in. Could be interesting if Arteta had played for Swansea or Cardiff for 5 years instead of Everton, mind.
That used to be the case (Maik Taylor plays for N Ireland despite having no family links because he was born in Germany whilst his dad was in HM Forces), but there was a tightening after then, so to be eligible a player either has to have been born in the home nation, have a parent or grandparent who was born there or have been schooled there for five years. David Johnson (Ex Ipswich & Forest striker who was Jamaican born) wanted to play for Scotland, but was denied the chance because his birth-mother was English-born, so only qualifies for us.
The exception is players from Channel Islands and Isle of Man, who qualify for any of the home nations. Different sport, but the English born-and-raised Budge Poutney used this loop hole to player union for Scotland, despite having no Scottish blood & never having lived there. He has a Grandmother who was born in the Channel Islands