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FIFA denies clearing Munir El Haddadi to change allegiance to Morocco

Craig Burley addresses Hector Bellerin's comments in regards to youth development in England and Spain.

Munir El Haddadi has not been given the go-ahead to change his allegiance in international football from Spain to Morocco, a FIFA spokesman has told ESPN FC.

Reports on Friday claimed the Moroccan Football Federation (MFF) had been successful with a request to free the Madrid-born Barcelona forward to represent the country of his father's birth.

However, FIFA said they have "not been contacted in connection with the player Munir El Haddadi and the MFF" and referred to Article 5 to 8 of their Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes.

Munir, 21, could face difficultly getting a switch because has already represented La Roja in an official competition, earning his solitary Spain cap as a second-half substitute in a European Championship qualifying win against Macedonia in 2014 after bursting onto the scene at Barca.

FIFA's rules say: "Any player who has already participated in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one association may not play an international match for a representative team of another association."

Muni El Haddadi will not be able to represent Morocco having already played for Spain.

Players who hold more than nationality are allowed to request to change the country they represent once, but not if they have "played a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition at 'A' international level for their current association."

Diego Costa, for example, was able to switch from Brazil to Spain in 2014 as he had only previously played for the Selecao in friendly matches, not in an official competition.

But as Morocco were a competing nation under the FIFA bracket when Munir made his senior debut in an official competition, it would set a precedent world football's governing body may be keen to avoid.

At the time Munir won his first cap for Spain as a 19-year-old, when Vicente del Bosque was still the national team coach, it was widely suspected that he had been fast-tracked to the senior squad to prevent him committing to Morocco in the future.

Since then, Munir's progress has slowed. He's been capped for Spain U21s 16 times but was left out of Albert Celades' squad for this month's European Under-21 Championship in Poland.

Meanwhile, reports in Spain suggest Barca are prepared to let him leave this summer, with Ajax and Zenit St Petersburg two teams credited with an interest in the forward who spent last season on loan at Valencia.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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