By John Egbokhan
The furore surrounding the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test, conducted on the Golden Eaglets by the Nigeria Football Association, assumed a new twist yesterday after FIFA ordered a fresh bone tests to be performed on players, who would be playing at the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria, to detect teams, who have picked ineligible players.
According to a statement on its website, the footballâ€™s global governing body, said that it would conduct the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests â€œto protect the integrity of the tournament and in the spirit of fair play.â€
The decision is in reaction to reports from Nigeria that the host nation hoped to select a number of players for the Oct. 24-Nov. 15 finals who were above the stipulated age.
Nigeria, who are the defending champions, have a tradition of glory at age group tournaments, haveÂ been persistently tainted by reports of using over-age players to achieve such feats.
FIFA said MRI tests on wrist bones had been developed by its medical research centre to determine the age of players.
â€œMRI of the wrist can identify players who are definitely above 17 years. It is reliable, evidence-based and safe for the player.â€
FIFA said it encouraged the 24 teams to conduct their own tests to ensure all players comply with the age rule but added that it would still conduct its own test to verify the authentic ages of the players.
Players from the 24 competing nations â€” which include Brazil, Iran, Japan, Spain and the United States â€” will be randomly selected for testing.Tournament regulations state players must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1992.