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FIT Player Eligibility Policy

Introduction

  1. Player eligibility for international sporting competition can be a complex and often emotive issue. The defining elements are at the very heart of global competition and key issues involved in ascertaining eligibility include aspects of nationality, passport, residency, place of birth, playing history, the respective country’s selection process and even a player’s gender, birth date and age.
  2. A player’s eligibility to represent a country requires some form of direct link between the individual and the represented country. The International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled that Legal Nationality and Sporting Nationality may be “different”, one defined in Public Law and the other in Private Law.
  3. The Federation of International Touch therefore has the authority to decide eligibility criteria for participants in the sport in the international arena as governed by the Federation and Members. Specific eligibility criteria may differ from Legal Nationality and should be subject to any internationally endorsed anti discrimination or equality policies. The focus of this Eligibility Policy is that the criteria are both fair and equitable to most.
  4. The Federation also agrees that the basis of International Sport should be just that, about individuals competing for their country against individuals from another country and any competing national team should be a representative national team organized by the national governing body of the relevant Member.

Application

  1. This policy applies to all Federation Events as defined below.
  2. This policy applies to all players competing at any Federation Event. Members are responsible for ensuring all individuals representing that Member meet the eligibility criteria prior to participating at a Federation Event.
  3. Members are encouraged to apply this policy to all events that are not afforded Federation Event status.
  4. This policy does not apply to officials, coaches, referees, or support staff.

Definitions

Continuous Resident
An individual who has maintained their domicile in one Country or territory except for short periods of absence away from the normal place of residence for holidays, business travel or similar short trips. When defining the permitted length of a period of absence, the guideline of “a few weeks but no longer than a few months” is to apply.
Country
A geographic region as defined by the 2008 FIT Constitution.
Driving License
A current, photographic, identification card issued by a government department entitling an individual to drive in a specific country or region.
Federation
The Federation of International Touch
Federation Event
A Touch tournament at which Tier 1, 2 or 3 competition occurs in accordance with event classification contained in the Federation Event Classification Policy.
International Season
The period from April 1 to July 31 each calendar year during which period Federation Events may be scheduled.
Legal National
An individual player who has been formally and permanently recognised by the respective government as a person of origin of a Country, on the basis of any legal criteria pertaining to that Country, whereby the individual’s status is not dependent on residence within that Country.
Member
National Touch Associations affiliated with the Federation and they may be Full Members, Associate Members or Federation Members as defined from time to time.
Naturalised Citizen
An individual player who has completed any required process set out by the government of a Country to obtain rights equivalent to becoming a Legal National, including the requirement where the individual’s naturalized status is not dependent on residence within the relevant Country.
Parent
Either a biological (blood) parent or a legal guardian (adopted) of an individual. For the purpose of this policy a step parent or foster parent is not considered a parent unless they are the legal guardian of the player in question.
Passport
An official document issued by a government department certifying the status of an individual in respect of a Country and used by an individual for international travel.
Place of Birth
The location of birth as recorded on an individual’s birth certificate (being the formal, statutory document recording the place, date and time of birth of an individual). For the purposes of this policy a certified copy of a birth certificate or “birth extract” is deemed to be sufficient.
Represented
An individual listed on the player registration sheet for a Member participating in a Federation Event is deemed to have represented that Member. “Represent”, “Representing” and “Representation” shall be interpreted accordingly.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. For an individual to be eligible to Represent a Member country in Federation Event, the individual must be able to prove that:
    1. They are a Legal National or Naturalised Citizen of the Country of the relevant Member; or
    2. They have a Parent whose Place of Birth was:
      1. in the Country, in the event that the Member is the only Member within the Country (e.g. South Africa); or
      2. in the territory for which the Member is recognized by the Federation, in the event that the Country contains multiple Members (e.g. the United Kingdom); or
    3. They have been a Continuous Resident of:
      1. the Country, in the event that the Member is the only Member within the Country (e.g. South Africa); or
      2. the territory for which the Member is recognized by the Federation, in the event that the Country contains multiple Members (e.g. the United Kingdom)

      for the three years preceding the relevant Federation Event.

    Normally, individuals must satisfy only one of the above requirements. However, where satisfying paragraph 4.1.1 results in an individual being able to Represent multiple Members at the same time, the individual must additionally satisfy:

    • their Place of Birth is in the territory for which the Member is recognized by the Federation (e.g. Ireland); or
    • 4.1.2; or
    • 4.1.3

    before their first Representation for that Member, after which time this additional requirement is not necessary.

  2. In addition to the above requirement at paragraph 4.1, to be eligible to Represent a Member in a Federation Event an individual must not have Represented another Member in a Federation Event during the previous three (3) International Seasons (which includes the periods of time between such international seasons). For the avoidance of doubt, clause 4.2 shall never prevent an individual Representing a Member where an individual intends to Represent a Member in a Tier 1 event and where the individual’s last Representation was the previous running of the same Tier 1 event. This requirement is subject to the exception in paragraph 5.2.2.
  3. In addition to the criteria listed in paragraphs 4.1 and 4.2 above, to be eligible to participate in Federation events, an individual must also meet:
    1. Membership and eligibility requirements of the Member including, but not limited to, matters relating to registration, insurance and financial status; and
    2. Gender criteria (male / men’s or female / women’s); and
    3. Age criteria in relevant divisions. It is normal for “Senior” divisions to specify a minimum age by the year of competition or a minimum year of birth. It is normal for “Youth” divisions to specify a maximum age by the year of competition or a maximum year of birth. Tournament regulations will specify the criteria; and
    4. Solely in the event that the individual has previously Represented another Member and relies upon clauses 4.1.2 or 4.1.3 to satisfy the requirements of clause 4.1, the following additional requirements must have been met during both of the (2) years immediately preceding the date of the individual’s application for eligibility in respect of the new Member:
      1. The individual must have competed in the national Touch championships (or equivalent pinnacle representative event) of the Member they intend to Represent; and
      2. The individual must have been a registered and financial member of an affiliated Touch club within the Member they intend to Represent.
    5. The requirements of clause 4.3.4 may be waived by the Federation, upon application by an individual, in the event that the individual’s failure to satisfy the requirements were outside of the individual’s control including, but not limited to, situations such as injury or cancellation of events.
  4. An individual participating in any Federation Event must be able to clearly prove their identity by having available to present one of the following as required:
    1. Current Driving License; or
    2. Current Passport; or
    3. Other, suitable photographic evidence.
  5. The responsibility to prove eligibility rests with both the individual and with the Member. Players whose eligibility may be perceived as questionable for a particular Federation Event should ensure that adequate and appropriate justification is at hand.

Multiple Representations

  1. An individual who has Represented a Member in a Federation Event may seek a clearance to represent a different Member country provided that individual meets the eligibility criteria listed in paragraph 4.1 to 4.3 above, for the different Member.
  2. An individual is entitled to multiple changes provided that the following provisions are adhered to:
    1. For an individual aged 18 years or older at the time of their most recent previous representation to be granted their first and/or second change of Representation, they must satisfy clauses:
      • 4.1; and
      • 4.2; and
      • all elements of paragraph 4.3
    2. For an individual aged under 18 years at the time of their most recent previous representation to be granted their first and/or second change of Representation, they must satisfy clauses:
      • 4.1; and
    3. For an individual to be granted their third or subsequent change of Representation, they must:
      • Fulfil all the obligations listed in 5.2.1 or 5.2.2 (as applicable); and
      • Satisfy the Federation (exercising its sole discretion) that the change in Representation is required due to an extraordinary set of circumstances resulting in the change of Representation being in the best interests of the sport of Touch and which maintains the integrity of fair sporting competition and the reputation of the Federation and the sport of Touch.
  3. Consideration of the circumstances of any request for a change should be applied and may include reasons of immigration, marriage, employment, development of the sport and personal matters.
  4. The following clearance procedures applies should an individual wish to change intended representation to a new Member:
    1. An individual initially must apply for clearance by completing the Clearance Application Form online, together with any supporting documentation not less than four (4) months prior to the respective Federation Event.
    2. The Federation Secretary General will then seek written comment from the national governing body of the individual’s current Member followed by the national governing body of the individual’s intended new Member.
    3. Following consideration of the matter the Federation Secretary General will advise the individual and the national governing bodies of both relevant Members of the decision in writing.
    4. The Secretary General is to maintain a record of all clearance application requests and associated decisions.
    5. An individual may appeal the decision of the Secretary General to the Federation Board in accordance with the Federation Judiciary Policy. The Board may appoint a Federation Appeals Panel to determine the appeal on its behalf. Any such appeal must be lodged with the Secretary General within 7 days of notification of the decision.
    6. Solely where a decision is made by the Federation in accordance with clause 5.2.3, the details of such decision shall be published by the Federation into the public domain to ensure the transparency of decision making is maintained.

Sanctions for Policy Breaches

  1. Should a Member be alleged to have allowed an ineligible individual to represent that Member and participate in any match during any Federation Event and eligibility is not proven by the individual the Federation (or any individual or committee appointed by the Federation) may take appropriate action. Penalties that may be imposed include, but are not limited to the following:
    1. Deduction of competition points; and / or
    2. Monetary fines; and / or
    3. Banning of individuals from competitions or remaining matches; and / or
    4. Banning of teams from competitions or remaining matches; and / or
    5. Combination of any of the above.

Protests and Appeals

  1. A Member may protest to the Secretary General or to his or her appointee, or to any Tournament Judiciary to consider such matters, about an individual either intending to Represent or who is Representing or has Represented another Member country at a Federation Event. Any eligibility protest must relate to the eligibility criteria detailed at paragraphs 4.1 to 4.3. Further details will normally be included in Event Rules and Regulation documents.
  2. Any eligibility protest must be submitted using the Player Eligibility Protest Form distributed in the event information package and must be submitted within thirty (30) minutes of completion of the game in which the alleged transgression occurred. The protest circumstances are to be clearly advised and available evidence supplied at the time of submission.
  3. The Secretary General or appointee, through the respective Tournament Judiciary will consider the matter and will advise all associated Members and the individual concerned of the decision without delay.
  4. The complainant Member may appeal the Secretary General decision to the Federation Board to determine an appeal in accordance with the Federation Judiciary Policy.
  5. Any matter of interpretation, or matter not provided for in this Policy, will be determined by the Federation Board.

Policy History / Approval/Application

  1. This policy was approved by the Federation Board on 16th August 2019.
  2. This policy, and any subsequent amendment of this policy, will take effect immediately upon communication of same to Members through the FIT Digital Identity mailbox.
  3. Members are responsible for the appropriate application of this policy.
  4. The policy is due for review in December 2023.

Index of Decisions

Any eligibility decisions that FIT publishes into the public domain will be indexed below.