It was a very interesting night for former Chelsea and France winger Florent Malouda on Tuesday. The 37-year-old created a major controversy in the CONCACAF Gold Cup of all competitions after starting a match for French Guiana despite being ruled ineligible by the confederation.
Malouda had been capped by France 80 times in his tremendous career, thus cap-tying him, according to FIFA rules. But while he represented Les Blues during the prime of his career, he was actually born in French Guiana, a territory of France located just north of Brazil. The country’s national football team isn’t a member of FIFA, but is recognized by CONCACAF. They were ranked 110th in the latest Elo ranking. Malouda had previously been allowed to represent the team at second-tier CONCACAF competitions that don’t adhere to FIFA rules, but the Gold Cup does utilize them, thus making him ineligible.
But no matter!
Having lost their opening group match and facing likely elimination already, French Guiana defied CONCACAF’s orders and fielded Malouda in their starting lineup anyway in a 0-0 draw with Honduras.
The confederation released an official statement immediately following the match to address the situation:
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.
It’s likely a formality at this point that the result will be changed to a forfeit for French Guiana because of Malouda’s participation and given as a 3-0 victory to Honduras.
What a farce.