Sweden opens door for Africans

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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, which was until recently coached by former Bafana Bafana mentor Stuart Baxter and where Thando Mngomeni plied his trade earlier in his career, initially 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 says 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.

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