Croatian-born defender Borna Sosa will not be able to play for Germany, Germany Football Association general manager Oliver Bierhoff has confirmed on Tuesday.
The Stuttgart left back hit the headlines over the weekend after announcing that he had received German citizenship and decided to pledge his allegiance to Germany ahead of Croatia, whom he represented at youth level.
Sosa obtained German citizenship through his mother who was born and grew up in Berlin. The 23-year-old, who has spent the past three years living and playing in Germany, said that not being called up to the Croatian A-team played a part in his decision.
But today, Bierhoff confirmed that due to FIFA regulations, Sosa is not eligible to switch allegiance.
“Borna Sosa is an interesting player with great potential, and not just because of his performances in the current season. We could see him playing for the national team after completing his naturalization process,” Bierhoff told DPA, Kicker reported, adding, ”That’s why we have carefully and seriously examined his eligibility to play for Germany. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t positive.”
According to FIFA rules, a player can change and play for a national team whose citizenship he did not have only if he was under 21 years of age when he last played for the national team, either youth team or senior team, in an official match. Also very important, at least three years must have passed since the last appearance and the player must not have three or more appearances in the national jersey.
Sosa last played for Croatia U-21 against Scotland in November 2020 when he was 22 years old. He has played a total of 47 games for Croatian youth teams.
The Croatian Football Federation said on Monday that Sosa was in coach Dalić’s plans but accepted and respected his decision. They said Sosa, like every player, has the right to choose which national team to play for, in accordance with FIFA’s statute.
Dalić is set shortly to announce his squad for Euro 2020 which starts in June.