TWO months ago yesterday [SAT] Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletic Federations, announced the global body was banning changes of nationality with immediate effect. Rules governing transfers of allegiance were: "no longer fit for purpose".

Orchestrated transfers, mostly of African athletes to the highest-bidding country, was cynical manipulation – not on the scale of football, to be sure, but life-changing "transfer fees" were paid.

An IAAF working group is due to report later this year, yet this week the world body rubber-stamped Miguel Francis's move from Antigua & Barbuda to Britain.

So what is going on? The IAAF say 15 "transfers" already in process when they imposed the ban were allowed to continue. However, Miguel's migration will inevitably reignite the "Plastic Brits" controversy. He ranked seventh in the world last year at 200 metres with 19.88 seconds, achieved at sea level. That's just one hundredth outside the British record, set at altitude 23 years ago by John Regis. And significantly ahead of the current GB crop about whose lottery funding this may now beg questions.

Just turned 22, Francis anchored Antigua and Barbuda to a national relay record in Glasgow 2014, and then again in the final of the 2015 World Championships. He also ran the 200m there, and though his time of 20.14 would have won one of the semi finals, he was eliminated in the same semi as the ultimate gold and bronze medallists.

An Olympic individual final beckoned until injury struck, but his best time last year would have claimed Rio silver, just a metre behind Usain Bolt. They share the same coach, Glen Mills, and now that Bolt has run his final furlong, Francis is in the forefront of those who would inherit his crown.

He has every right to compete for Britain because his birthplace, a British overseas territory, has no national Olympic committee. He was born on Montserrat, but his family fled when he was months old, after a volcanic eruption.

He actually applied to transfer before Rio, yet early last month Anguila media reported him as still prepared to run for the island where he grew up. When he declared for GB this week, the Anguilan athletics association's shocked president was unaware of the development. It generated anger and much public criticism in the Caribbean. They say they have invested in the athlete, and want the matter raised at governmental level.

Athletics permits competitors to switch nationality even after they have represented a country. Dozens of athletes changed allegiance on the eve of London 2012, and again before last year's Olympics.

Anguilan-born Zharnel Hughes (another training partner of Bolt) was among those labelled a Plastic Brit when he came to the UK just before the 2015 World Championships. This sparked angry Twitter trolling by GB world indoor champion Richard Kilty. It was quickly removed, but not before he claimed British sprinters he'd spoken to felt exactly as he did: "but daren’t speak out."

Typically, one right-wing UK tabloid demanded European hurdles champion Tiffany Porter, who had quit the US to run for Britain, demonstrate her credentials by reciting the opening lines of the national anthem.

In the 13 years to 2011, the IAAF reported 340 changes of allegiance. There have been 343 in the past five years, with more then 80 in each of the last two (20 from Kenya and 26 from Ethiopia).

The first truly high-profile flag-of-convenience switch was of Zola Budd, from South Africa to Britain, on the eve of the 1984 Olympics, followed by Wilson Kipketer who moved from Kenya to Denmark to marry before breaking Coe's world 800m record. The first transfer claimed to have been motivated purely by financial gain is that of of Kenyan Stephen Cherono to Qatar in 2003.

Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion in 2002, he changed his name to Saif Saaeed Shaheen, before winning the World 'chase title in 2003 and '05 and setting a world record. His brother, fifth behind him wearing Kenyan colours in 2003, refused to speak to him. However, Shaheen denied to me that the transfer was for the $1m which had been widely reported (plus a $1000 monthly stipend – then some two years income in Kenya). His response cast a different light on the pejorative "mercenary" branding he endured.

One of nine children, he'd to leave school when most of his father's stock died in a drought. Their only agricultural possession was a wooden plough inherited from his grandfather. There is still no water tap in the Keyo village where he grew up. "I used to walk three kilometres every evening after school, and carried 10 litres back again in plastic containers. Every day."

Just 10 of their 90 animals survived the drought. "My father sold animals to raise money for school fees. Then we'd no animals to sell."

By 2005 he was putting his siblings through school, and two through university in the US. "I told them to stop running, and study. Everyone who is an athlete in Kenya runs to escape poverty."

Some 50 people were dependent on his athletics success for a livelihood.

The Kenyan federation, riddled with corruption, prevented Shaheen from ever competing in the Olympics - during a four-year period in which he remained unbeaten in 28 'chases.

Economics drive sporting migration. It's little different in badminton, where the world top 25 men's and women's singles players are effectively Chinese. Many more outside the top 25 are to be found in national teams around Europe.

The most notorious Scottish case was Peter Nicol, who won the world squash title and then defected to England despite his family having enjoyed more than £100,000 in Scottish lottery support. And Canadian student Joseph Bianco lived in a caravan on campus in Ontario so that he could claim a Haddington cottage as his permanent address in order to receive thousands in lottery funding - orchestrated by a sportscotland employee. Bianco won nothing at the Commonwealth Games. Carpet-baggers came out of the woodwork every four years at Games time.

Pacific islands are being stripped of rugby talent by allegedly unscrupulous agents, and Scotland's XV would be bereft without the numerous players qualified to play elsewhere, by birth or parentage. This is replicated across professional sport worldwide.

Containing this, given restraint of trade legislation, may prove as hard to address as the global doping epidemic.