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Matip will be exempt from sanctions if Cameroon were informed of his position

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 833

Pin Liverpool's Joel Matip rejected a call-up to the African Cup of Nations. Goal
Liverpool's Joel Matip rejected a call-up to the African Cup of Nations. Goal

Matip will be exempt from sanctions if Cameroon were informed of his position

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 833

Fecafoot "reserves the right to take action" against players shunning AFCON, but the centre-back will be shielded if he offered a timely written withdrawal.

Cameroon would not have legal grounds to request a club sanction against Liverpool’s Joel Matip if the defender formally advised them of his decision to sit out the Africa Cup of Nations in advance.

The 25-year-old is one of seven players named in the preliminary 35-man squad to opt out of representing Hugo Broos’ side at the continental showpiece.

And the coach has threatened to take disciplinary measures: "These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulations."

Fecafoot could seek a ban from club games for the duration of the tournament as those called up are “obliged to respond affirmatively.”

However, Matip’s self-imposed exile - he has not represented Cameroon for over a year - has been well documented with Broos having admitted to meeting and failing to convince the centre-back to alter his viewpoint.

At the start of the month, the Indomitable Lions boss told Belgian publication Voetbal: “When I took over as coach I went to see him in Gelsenkirchen [when Matip was still at Schalke] and ask him to return to the team.

“But he said to me ‘nothing is organised properly in Cameroon’. I asked him to give me a chance to prove that we could do it better but he was not convinced.”

Broos made further attempts to change Matip’s mind with no success as the player revealed to the club’s official website 11 days ago: “It’s not an easy decision but I want to concentrate on Liverpool. I want to be [here].

“I want to focus on Liverpool and that’s what I had to decide. I think I took the right decision.” 

Sports lawyer Jake Cohen, part of the acclaimed Mills & Reeve team, has explained Matip would be shielded from penalties if he communicated his unavailability in an official capacity prior to being called up.

"The FIFA Regulations state that, as a general rule, players are obliged to accept their call-ups. However, there are exceptions to this rule. From what I understand, Joel Matip has not been part of the Cameroon set-up for over a year now,” Cohen told Goal.

“I would imagine he has withdrawn his name for consideration, as is required, and in that case he would be covered. 

“He wouldn’t be subjected to sanctions as long as he has informed Cameroon in writing that he is not available for selection prior to receiving this call-up.”

Matip has missed three of Liverpool’s last seven league games as he nurses a persistent ankle issue with Jurgen Klopp explaining: “It is only about resting the injury or not. Try it every day or give it a few days.”

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