My kids have two nationalities. If they will be competing in any sport on a national level, can they choose to participate in the competition of both countries of which they are a citizen?

  • Robert Lewandowski Plays for Germany clubs under contract but represetns Poland as his National team. If he was to get a German citizenship, he can choose to play for Germany instead, but Germany requires you to drop Polish nationality. There have been cases where good player got subsidies to become citizens in an effort to get them into the National teams.
    – Piotr Kula
    Mar 14, 2014 at 10:02
  • 2
    Event a more recent examples Viktor Ahn, and Siobhan Heekin-Canedy
    – Karlson
    Mar 14, 2014 at 11:39
  • Too broad. Every country has different rules on this, and often different sporting codes have different rules again (eg cricket and rugby stand-down times differ when becoming an expat). Please clarify which nationalities.
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 15, 2014 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


While I agree with Gaël Laurans that this will mostly be a matter of the respective international sport federations, the choice does not necessarily have to be for life. As a specific example, there is an ice hockey player who represented Canada on the 1994 Winter Olympics and the Czech Republic on this year's Olympics. This might still, however, be possible only in some disciplines.

  • +1 I didn't know about this case. I found some info on that on the International Ice Hokey Federation website
    – Gala
    Mar 14, 2014 at 9:20
  • @GaëlLaurans I wouldn't know this was possible either if this case didn't get such a coverage in Czech media before the Olympics... Mar 14, 2014 at 9:22

As far as I know, such rules are set by international sport federations so they differ from sport to sport. I don't know many details but it's often impossible to play for several national teams or selections in your career. Once you went to a world cup or olympic games or were selected for an official game, you are typically committed for life.

However, since this is regulated at the federation level, the rules aren't even unified for the olympic games. For example, @Ondřej Černotík mentioned a player who played for two countries in ice hockey but I believe this is not allowed by the FIS (the ski federation).

Furthermore, in some (most? all?) sports, you don't have to choose before you are ready to play at the most senior level. It's not uncommon for people to play for one country in “junior” competitions and play for another country later on.

Some sports (rugby) even allow players who don't have the nationality of the country in question to play for the national team under some circumstances. Still, once you played for one country, this becomes your “rugby nationality” and you can't play for another representative team, ever.

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