CONCACAF have enforced a stiff penalty on French Guiana for fielding Florent Malouda in a Gold Cup group game, handing Honduras a 3-0 win for the fixture that had finished as a draw.
The confederation announced on Friday that its disciplinary committee has enforced a penalty after the team decided to field the ineligible Malouda. Though he was born in French Guiana, Malouda represented France 80 times between 2004-12, including two World Cup appearances.
French overseas departments like French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe are not FIFA members but are part of the CONCACAF. In previous tournaments, they were allowed to field former France internationals who had not featured for Les Bleus in six years in the Gold Cup. But the confederation says that rule has changed, with the tournament now abiding by FIFA player eligibility rules that tie a player to one senior team.
"As a consequence of fielding Florent Malouda, who was confirmed by the Disciplinary Committee to be ineligible to play in the Gold Cup 2017 according to the applicable regulations, the Disciplinary Committee has levied sanctions and fines against the French Guiana Football League (LGF) and has suspended the player ruled ineligible," the statement reads.
Honduras have been awarded a 3-0 victory for the match, which finished as a scoreless draw. That gives Los Catrachos three points heading into the Friday's final matchday for Group A with Costa Rica and Canada sitting above them.
The confederation also gave Malouda a two-match suspension from official matches, adding "he will serve a concurrent stadium ban".
French Guiana coach Jair Karam declined to take questions about the issue in his news conference on Thursday but had revealed after the Honduras game that he was confident of a positive outcome.
“You know the way things work behind the scenes. We were pressured with fines, a potential suspension, losing points," Karam said. "We didn’t have an answer from FIFA and we weren’t fully sure of how to make our legal argument. We made the decision from within - I didn’t want to take the risk. Now that we’re sure about our legal situation, we’ve decided to go fight, and it’s a fight we’re going to win."
CONCACAF's Disciplinary Committee is made up of Margarita Echeverria, a lawyer who is the general secretary of the Costa Rican Football Federation; Eugenio Rivas, the president of Liga MX"s Disciplinary Committee; and David Sabir, the general secretary of the Bermuda Football Association.