Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi will apply for Italian residency to avoid Brexit bureaucracy and boost his Olympic hopes.
The 28-year-old is preparing for the 60m hurdles at the European Indoor Championships in Poland this weekend.
He is aiming to reclaim the title he won in 2017 after a turbulent year which saw him unable to leave Italy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pozzi has been living and training in Formia, on the Mediterranean coast, for just over two years but Brexit rules which came into force in January mean he can now only spend 90 days out of 180 in the EU.
That would make it impossible to train with coach Santiago Antunez unless he changes his status.
Pozzi said: “I plan to continue on in Italy. It is certainly going to be difficult. If any of you guys (the media) want to use your powers to help lobby for sports visas or anything like that then feel free.
“It is a work in progress, to be honest. Getting information about the best way to continue in Italy has been very difficult. It looks like I will take full-time residency in order to continue training there fully.
“As you will know the current rule is that you can only be in Europe 90 days out of every 180. Obviously for an athlete that is not sustainable and it is not the way to prepare, so we are working on that at the moment.
“It is tricky but I think taking up residency in Italy where I have been for the last couple of years, it should make things a little bit easier.
“My understanding at the moment is I have been there two years with a housing contract and with bills in my name and the fact I am training there full-time to go to the Olympic Games. So I believe via the local authorities there that it is doable.”
Pozzi won his first major title when he claimed gold at the European Indoors in Belgrade four years ago.
It came after years of injury problems, including persistent foot issues, and 12 months later he won the World Indoor 60m hurdles title in Birmingham.
Pozzi, who will race in the heats on Saturday with the final on Sunday, said: “Winning that first one was definitely hardest. Winning that first one gave me such confidence.
“To some extent it validated all the faith I had had through all the years of injuries, I was only doing it to come back to the highest level and that was the point of it all really.
“That medal really gave me a lot of belief that my thinking had been right and I was on the right path.
“Similarly looking at Birmingham a year later, I had quite a tough build-up going into that one but the experience I had from Belgrade and actually winning a championship really changed my mindset going into Birmingham.
“I went there with a lot more confidence that, come the right moment, I’d have the experience to compete how I would like to.”