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There might be something in the old three club rule after all:

Nicky Shorey is on a collision course with FIFA because he played for his third club this season when he made his Fulham debut against Portsmouth on Wednesday.

The world body are unhappy that English football continues to provide a loophole to avoid their transfer rules, which state that players can represent a maximum of two clubs in one season.

The former England full back played for Fulham after signing on loan from Aston Villa, following an earlier nine-game spell at Nottingham Forest. But Shorey and Fulham are backed by the FA, the Premier League and the Football League, all of whom classify his time at Forest as an emergency loan.

A FIFA spokesman said: ‘FIFA are concerned about the system of emergency loans in general and have approached the Football Association on various occasions in the past regarding this. FIFA will be contacting them again in order to obtain clarification with regard to this issue.

‘Generally speaking, and with regard to the application of the pertinent rule, ie. Article 5 Paragraph 3 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, the regulation should be applied as stated.’

The FA are standing their ground, though.

Emergency loans don’t count when calculating the number of clubs a player has played for as he remains under contract to his parent club.

After such an impressive debut, Fulham certainly don’t need Shorey sidelined by red tape.