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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Gold Cup: French Guiana in hot water after Malouda starts

Former Chelsea and France player captain team in 0-0 draw against Honduras

French Guiana midfielder Florent Malouda runs with the ball during the second half against Honduras in their Gold Cup match at the BBVA Compass Stadium July 11, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
French Guiana midfielder Florent Malouda runs with the ball during the second half against Honduras in their Gold Cup match at the BBVA Compass Stadium July 11, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

French Guiana is under the microscope of disciplinary officials and may have to forfeit their Gold Cup match against Honduras after former French player Florent Malouda played Tuesday despite being ruled ineligible.

The former France and Chelsea player was in the starting lineup for the territory of his birth in a scoreless draw with Honduras in a Concacaf Gold Cup clash on Tuesday night.

According to Concacaf regulations, Honduras should be awarded a 3-0 win via forfeit because of French Guiana's apparent flouting of the rules, Sports Illustrated reported.

"The rules say he's ineligible," Sport Illustrated quoted a Concacaf spokesman as saying. "We are using Fifa rules so a player who has played in an official match for a different [national team] cannot play in the Gold Cup."

French Guiana manager Jair Karam made the decision to play Malouda, 37, despite a ruling on Thursday by Concacaf chiefs that he was ineligible.

Following the match, Concacaf issued a statement saying the issue had been referred to the tournament's disciplinary committee.

"The disciplinary committee will review the case and render its decision in due time," it said.

After not playing in their first game, a 4-2 defeat to Canada, Malouda was given the captain's armband for French Guiana's second match.

Fifa rules bar players from switching national teams once they have played a competitive international.

Malouda, 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 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.

Similar to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, French Guiana is a member of Concacaf but not of football's governing body Fifa.