Florent Malouda has played his last Gold Cup match as he was suspended from the tournament for being an ineligible player in Tuesday’s match in Houston the CONCACAF Gold Cup Disciplinary Committee ruled on Friday.
On Tuesday Malouda was named in the French Guyana starting XI and played the full 90 minutes for the team despite previously playing for France. Playing for France makes him ineligible for any other national team, even French Guiana.
French Guiana tried to argue that as they are not FIFA members they do not have to abide by FIFA regulations. That said the Gold Cup is a FIFA sanctioned tournament and as such all competing teams have to abide by FIFA regulations.
“We are very happy to have the whole world talking about us,” said a member of the French Guiana broadcasting team, “it has been exciting, but it is disappointing to receive sanctions.”
Apart from the suspension to Malouda, which includes a stadium ban, the match against Honduras was awarded as a forfeit and a 3-0 win to Honduras. French Guiana was also fined, an undisclosed amount, by CONCACAF.
That forfeit, while expected, leaves Canada in a precarious position as they will now likely need to beat Honduras in their match in Frisco on Friday. That has left Canada frustrated, and could add to the atmosphere on Friday.
“It’s really frustrating,” said a member of the Canadian media contingent in Houston on Tuesday. “They’re a good side and could have got a result without him but now it’s going to be a 3-0 win to Honduras.”
In multiple press conferences over the tournament the French Guiana manager, Jair Karam, has expressed his frustration about French Guiana’s status in world football. This move was clearly designed to make an appeal to Guianese nationalism, and while certainly a stage for it, it may not have been the right stage for it.
Ultimately though, responsibility for this whole issue lies with CONCACAF who should never have allowed French Guiana to knowingly register an ineligible player in their tournament squad.