French Guiana are facing disciplinary proceedings after defying FIFA regulations by fielding former France international Florent Malouda in their CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Honduras on Tuesday.
The team from the overseas French department, who have qualified for the tournament for the first time, pulled off an upset by holding Honduras to a 0-0 draw but now appear likely to forfeit the game.
CONCACAF confirmed after the match that it had opened proceedings. “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,” it said in a statement.
FIFA rules bar players from switching national teams once they have played a competitive international. The standard sanction for fielding an ineligible player is to forfeit the game 3-0.
The 37-year-old, who now plays his club football in India with Delhi Dynamos, made 80 appearances for France, including the 2006 World Cup final against Italy, which they lost on penalties.
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 made his debut for them at the Caribbean Cup last month.
However, he was not selected for their opening Gold Cup match against Canada, which they lost 4-2. Similar to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, French Guiana is a member of CONCACAF but not of soccer’s governing body FIFA.