West Ham United escape expulsion, fined heavily, for playing Diafra Sakho in FA Cup


West Ham United will breath a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday as the Hammers were fined $108,000 but allowed to continue their quest towards the 2014-15 FA Cup.

FIFA ruled that West Ham broke rules regarding Senegalese forward Diafra Sakho, who was called up to represent his nation for the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea but instead stayed behind with his club side.

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Sakho, 25, was recovering from a back injury and West Ham said the former Metz striker was injured. However in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Sakho jumped off the bench on Jan. 25 and scored the winning-goal late in the match against Bristol City to set up a fifth round tie with West Bromwich Albion.

The problem was, Senegal were still playing in the AFCON and were playing in a vital group game two days after Sakho had played and scored for West Ham. They were pretty miffed that they couldn’t use Sakho, who has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances for West Ham this season.

So, the Senegalese Football Association appealed to FIFA about West Ham’s failure to release the player  and said he was “prevented from playing and travelling by plane due to injury.” The Hammers were faced with possible expulsion from the FA Cup over playing Sakho but FIFA decided on Wednesday to fine the east London club heavily.

Will this fine prevent other clubs from failing to release their players for international competitions (such as the African Cup of Nations of Asian Cup) during their own season? Or is it too lenient?