Football

Fifa leaves Matip decision in Liverpool's hands

Liverpool have effectively been told by Fifa to make up their own minds over whether Cameroon defender Joel Matip can play for them after declining to represent his country at the African Nations Cup.

Liverpool withdrew Matip from their squad for the 1-1 draw with Manchester United yesterday morning (Singapore time), saying they wanted to seek clarity from football's governing body over his eligibility.

Fifa confirmed yesterday that it had replied to Liverpool by "directing the club to the applicable provisions" of the regulations on the status and transfer of players, in particular article five.

That states that a player called up by his country for an international tournament is not entitled to play for his club during that period.

Liverpool said Matip was not included in Cameroon's final squad for the African Nations Cup and had previously said he did not want to be considered for selection. West Brom's Allan Nyom shares a similar situation.

The English club added that Cameroon's FA had failed to confirm that Matip could play club football while the tournament was taking place in Gabon.

Fifa rules stipulate that associations wishing to call up a player for the final competition of an international tournament must notify the player in writing at least 15 days before the beginning of the relevant release period.

"The player's club shall also be informed in writing at the same time," the ruling body's rules state.

"Equally, associations are advised to copy the association of the clubs concerned into the summons."

A Fifa spokesman added that any potential violation of the applicable provisions would have to be investigated by its disciplinary committee. - REUTERS

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