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France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

CONCACAF rules French Guiana draw a forfeit, bans Malouda

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CONCACAF came out with a strong response early Friday morning to French Guiana’s decision to break the rules and play Florent Malouda Tuesday evening in the Gold Cup.

The CONCACAF disciplinary committee announced that the match between French Guiana and Honduras, which finished as a scoreless draw on the night, would be forfeited by French Guiana, awarding Honduras a 3-0 result.

In addition, French Guiana was fined an undisclosed amount and the 37-year-old Malouda was assessed a two-match stadium ban.

[ MORE: Read PST’s Gold Cup latest ]

“As a consequence of fielding Florent Malouda, who was confirmed by the Disciplinary Committee to be ineligible to play in the Gold Cup 2017 according to the applicable regulations, the Disciplinary Committee has levied sanctions and fines against the French Guiana Football League (LGF) and has suspended the player ruled ineligible,” CONCACAF said in a statement.

Malouda of course earned 80 caps for the French National Team during a long career in Europe where he starred for Lyon and Chelsea, but began playing for his native French Guiana earlier this year, captaining the side to third place at the Caribbean Cup, which served as a qualifying tournament for the Gold Cup.

For whatever reason, CONCACAF allowed Malouda to compete for French Guiana in that competition but has decided to honor FIFA rules, which say a player cannot switch international teams once they’ve played in an official FIFA match, at the Gold Cup, which ruled Malouda ineligible for the Gold Cup. Normally FIFA rules don’t apply to French Guiana because the nation, an overseas department of France, is not a member of FIFA.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

At the same time, Malouda was allowed to be registered on the French Guiana roster, placed on the starting lineup and take the field, even though the game was almost surely going to be forfeited.

The strange situation has perhaps met its end, with French Guiana now with no chance of advancing to the knockout round of the Gold Cup with two losses through its first two games against Canada and Honduras.

French Guiana wraps up the group stage against Costa Rica on Friday evening.

Honduras wins as French Guiana purposely starts ineligible Malouda

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Honduras defeated French Guiana the moment Tuesday’s Gold Cup match kicked off, as Les Yana Dòkòs sacrificed at least a 3-0 score line in order to use an ineligible star.

CONCACAF ruled before the tournament that former French international Florent Malouda was ineligible to play in the Gold Cup, and French Guiana played along for its opening 4-2 loss to Canada.

But with its best chance for a win coming Tuesday against Honduras — Costa Rica is next — French Guiana decided to use longtime Chelsea and Lyon man Malouda and take the 3-0 loss on the table. Honduras wants to play the game because it can keep a better score line than 3-0 if the match plays out that way.

The match finished 0-0 on the field. It reads 3-0 to Honduras on the score sheet.

Section XV. A. of the Gold Cup regulations, as outlined on Fox’s broadcast, says:

Each participating member association shall select its national representative team from the best players who are nationals of its country and under its jurisdiction, and are eligible for selection in accordance with the provisions of the applicable FIFA regulations.

While the idea to put forth a better show on the international stage is laudable in some ways, the move really stings Canada and could also hurt the third place team in the other groups. The Canucks beat French Guiana 4-2, and have a plus-2 goal differential on the table. That’s one better than Costa Rica, but now Honduras and perhaps CRC will score at least 3-0 wins.

The winners and runners-up of Group B will avoid a group winner in the next round, while two of the three third-place teams will also advance. This result assures that third place in Group A will have no fewer than three points and could have as many as four.

We’d also expect some post-match or tourney punishment for French Guiana.

FOLLOW LIVE – Gold Cup kicks off with Canada, Honduras, Costa Rica

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Red Bull Arena plays host to the first two matches of the 2017 Gold Cup, as a quartet of teams hope to get the tournament started on the right foot.

Octavio Zambrano’s Canada has a match it has to win when 37-year-old Florent Malouda (maybe) and French Guiana take the field in the 7 p.m. ET opener.

[ LIVE: Gold Cup scoreboard ]

If you’re saying to yourself, “Didn’t Malouda earn almost 100 caps for France?”, the answer is “Yup, almost.” Malouda made 80 appearances but can play for French Guiana as Les Yana Dòkòs are not a FIFA-recognized side. There is some question as to whether Malouda will be allowed to participate, according to Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus.

Then almost full-strength Costa Rica will hope to hearken memories of its memorable 2014 World Cup run when it matches up with scrappy Honduras at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chicharito, Ochoa, Konoplyanka

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There’s some serious international skill making its way around the transfer rumor mill on Tuesday.

First comes this comprehensive Mexican player roundup from Goal.com’s intrepid correspondent Tom Marshall, which has Guillermo Ochoa getting plenty of European interest. Arguably the star of El Tri‘s run to the quarterfinals, Ochoa is drawing interest from an absurd list of clients: AC Milan, Arsenal, Marseille and Real Sociedad among them.

Meanwhile Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez is forced to wait on his future after Mexico was dispatched from the World Cup by his new boss, Netherlands and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. Chicharito is said to be sick of his status as a super-sub for both Mexico and United, and it’s hard-to-imagine him being an instant starter for van Gaal at Old Trafford. Marshall’s report says that Southampton, Napoli and Inter Milan are all interested in the Little Pea.

Meanwhile, could Yehven Konoplyanka could be a surprise addition to Sam Allardyce’s arsenal at West Ham United? The electrifying Dnipro and Ukraine winger was heavily-tipped to head to Liverpool, but the Hammers have launched a $20 million-plus bid for the 24-year-old.

Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen will be sitting down with the brass at the Emirates to discuss his future, as Manchester United waits in the wings according to SkySports.

“I really do not know where I will play, Arsenal or elsewhere next season,” he is quoted by the Evening Standard.

“All my attention went to the World Cup. I will see when I talk with Arsenal.”

MLSSoccer.com has some hot domestic tips for you. The league’s hub links to rumors that have Florent Malouda could leave Trabzonspor for either New York City FC or the Red Bulls, while Philadelphia may be going after Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra.