Fifa has denied Serbia’s request to transfer former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic’s international eligibility because he already played a World Cup qualifying match for Spain.
That appearance in September 2008 was the only time Bojan represented Spain, where he was born. The Stoke player’s father is Serbian.
Fifa says it referred the Serbian football federation to two rules governing players’ national team eligibility.
Serbia made the request despite a long-established Fifa rule that locks in players with a national team after they appear in a competitive match.
Bojan, then aged 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Spain’s 4-0 win against Armenia in Albacete. Spain went on to win the 2010 World Cup.
Serbia is in a six-team 2018 World Cup qualifying group that includes Wales, Austria and Ireland.