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Joel Matip will sit out Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round replay Wednesday at Plymouth Argyle while the club awaits clearance from FIFA for him to play, according to BBC Sport.
The defender was adjudged to have breached the governing body’s regulations in apparently refusing to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Liverpool understands he retired from international football back in 2015, reports the Guardian.
Jurgen Klopp, the Reds’ manager, was considering fielding Matip regardless of potential disciplinary action from FIFA, but was going to consult with Liverpool’s lawyers on the matter. It’s believed that FIFA has since said it will come to a decision over Matip’s availability for the duration of Africa Cup of Nations – which began Jan. 14 – on Friday, meaning he’s currently ineligible.
Matip was a late scratch from Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United due to the FIFA standoff, and could miss six to eight matches if he’s unable to be selected for the duration of the competition.
The FIFA provision states:
A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.
Matip’s apparent retirement from international football is yet to be acknowledged by FIFA.
“There are not a lot of times in my life when I have been in a situation like this, not even a similar situation,” Klopp said Tuesday.
Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan manned the centre-half spots in the test at Manchester United, while Lucas Leiva and Joe Gomez assumed those duties in the first meeting against fourth-tier Plymouth on Jan. 8.