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20th Jan 2017

Joel Matip finally cleared to play for Liverpool after FIFA dismiss Cameroon international row

The defender is now free to play against Swansea

Tony Barrett

FIFA have dismissed the case against Joel Matip, bringing an end to the dispute over his eligibility and making the defender immediately available for selection by Liverpool.

In a move that will come as a relief to Jurgen Klopp, FIFA ruled that Matip’s retirement from international football is legitimate regardless of the refusal of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) to confirm to world football’s governing body that they accepted that situation.

Had the ruling gone against Liverpool or further inquiries been considered necessary, Klopp would have been without Matip for at least another week but tonight’s developments mean the centre back could now be picked to face Swansea City tomorrow.

In the absence of clarification from FIFA, Liverpool had erred on the side of caution by omitting Matip from their playing squad for recent fixtures against Manchester United and Plymouth Argyle, a position which was necessitated by the possibility that they could face retrospective sanctions had it been decided that his absence from Cameroon’s participation in the Africa Nations Cup was illegitimate.

That concern has now been removed, though, and Liverpool welcomed the development with a story published on the club’s official website. “Liverpool FC can confirm that all charges against the club and its player Joel Matip have been dismissed by FIFA following confirmation this evening from the world football governing body,” they said.

“The club had requested FIFA to provide guidance on Matip’s eligibility after a complaint had been made by FECAFOOT to FIFA concerning the player’s purported call up to the Cameroon national team for the Africa Cup of Nations. Following FIFA’s ruling, the club now considers the player available for selection.”

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