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Mexico's bizarre U-23 mistake leads to forfeits and potential FIFA ranking punishment

4:10 am AEDT 20/1/23
Alejandro Zendejas 16:9
Mexico have been fined and made to forfeit matches for fielding forward Alejandro Zendejas, who had already played for the U.S.
  • Mexico fielded ineligible forward
  • Punished by FIFA
  • Forfeits could impact world ranking

WHAT HAPPENED? Mexico have been ordered by FIFA to forfeit two senior friendlies and a further three at Under-23 level for fielding forward Zendejas, due to his prior allegiance with the USMNT.

WHAT THEY SAID: Via ESPN, a statement released on Thursday by football's governing body reads: "FIFA can confirm that it has imposed a fine of CHF 10,000 on the Mexican Football Association for breaches of article 5 of the Regulations Governing the Application (RGAS) of the FIFA Statutes following the fielding of the player Alejandro Zendejas.

"Besides the fine, all matches have been declared forfeited. Based on the applicable provisions of the RGAS, the player remains however eligible to play for the representative teams of the USA."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Per FIFA's official regulations, the 24-year-old Zendejas needed to apply for a one-time switch as he turned out for the United States national team at youth level before Mexico. As a result, not only are Mexico being fined, but the forfeits for previous games now being registered as 3-0 defeats could negatively affect them in FIFA's rankings.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR ZENDEJAS? The forward, who plays his club football in Mexico with Club America, has been included in the USMNT squad for games against Serbia and Colombia at the end of January, where he could debut for the country's senior team.