FIFA Rules In Tunisia’s Favor In Yohan Benalouane Case

The Cesena defender turned down a call-up to the Tunisian national team even though he had officially opted to switch allegiances and represent the Carthage Eagles instead of France.

After refusing to join up with the Tunisian national team for their upcoming 2012 AFCON qualifier against Togo this weekend, Yohan Benalouane has been warned by FIFA that he could face a two game suspension at club level since he recently completed the necessary administrative procedures to be eligible to play for the Carthage Eagles and no longer be in consideration for a spot in the French national team.

According to Mosaique FM, FIFA sent a fax to his club, Cesena, in which they reminded him that he was no longer eligible to play for Les Bleus in accordance with article 18 of the FIFA statutes. Football’s governing body made it clear that all players who are called up for national team duty must respond favorably or else risk a two match suspension in accordance with annex 1 of the same document.

Benalouane was courted by Humberto Coelho to represent Tunisia during his tenure of the north African side but gave up once he reportedly discovered that the player wasn’t enthusiastic enough about joining the Carthage Eagles. However, current Tunisia coach, Bertrand Marchand was not discouraged by his predecessors failed efforts and looked to have convinced the former St. Etienne player that representing the country of his parents was a good idea.

However, it is now clear that Coelho’s initial impression was not off the mark considering that Benalouane recently informed the FTF by fax that he would not honor his most recent call-up and that he wishes to play for France, even though he had gone to the trouble of successfully filing for a switch of allegiance with FIFA last month.

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