July 12 – Capped 80 times by France, Florent Malouda has sparked an eligibility investigation having played in the Gold Cup group match for French Guiana against Honduras which was drawn 0-0 last night.
The result was an upset and immediately led to a complaint. If upheld French Guiana will likely forfeit the match as a 3-0 loss, the first time in CONCACAF history that a team has had to forfeit a fixture in the finals tournament.
CONCACAF issued a statement saying: “In regards to the election of the French Guiana National Team to field player Florent Malouda in this evening’s Gold Cup match against the Honduras National Team, and in line with the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 Regulations which are governed by FIFA Regulations pertaining to player eligibility, the matter has been referred to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee will review the case and render its decision in due time.”
French Guiana are playing in the Gold Cup for the first time. Malouda has already played for the country without sanction in the Caribbean Cup. The French overseas territory is a member of CONCACAF but not a member of FIFA.
FIFA rules state that a player cannot switch national team once they have played a competitive national team game for the first country. Malouda has even played in the 2006 World Cup final for France against Italy.
The former Chelsea and Olympique Lyon player, who did not play in last year’s qualifying matches for the Gold Cup, was born in French Guiana and currently plays his club football with Delhi Dynamos in India.
Canada maintain new-found form
In the other Gold Cup Group A game last night, also played in Houston, Canada pulled off a second upset, drawing with Costa Rica 1-2 to maintain their lead at the top of the group on goal difference.
Canada have had indifferent form internationally in recent seasons. They took the lead through 16-year old sensation Alphonso Davies who scored his third goal of the tournament. Costa Rica equalised before half time through Franciso Calvo.
The Canadians held out under some intense Costa Rican pressure at the end of the game. Now they will have to withstand the challenge of Honduras in the final game. If Honduras are awarded the points and a 3-0 win against French Guiana following the Malouda ruling, then the Canadians will need a draw or win to guarantee progression to the quarter finals.
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