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21 Dec 2016

Disaster for Klopp: 'Brilliant' £100k-a-week Liverpool star could miss 7 games (including Chelsea/Man Utd) due to the AFCON

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Bad news for Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp could be about to lose one of the club's 'brilliant' performers for an extended period of time.

Reds defender Joel Matip (and six other players) have refused to turn out for Cameroon during the African Cup of Nations, and in Matip's case, he has cited 'a bad experience with the previous technical staff' as the reason for snub. In response, Cameroon's football federation posted the following statement on its website:

“These players want to privilege personal interest to the detriment of the national team, which some of them have already used for their development. The Cameroon Football Federation reserves the right to take action against in accordance with FIFA regulations".

Unfortunately for Matip, the 'FIFA Regulations' in question stipulate that a playing ban is a definite possibility, specifically:

* Rule 3.1: "Every player registered with a club is obliged to respond affirmatively when called up by the association on the basis of his nationality to play for one of its representative teams".

* Rule 5: "Unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, [the player] is not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released. This restriction on playing for the club shall be prolonged by five days in the event that he did not wish to comply with the call-up".

* Rule 6.1: "Violations of any of the provisions set forth in this annexe shall result in the imposition of disciplinary measures".

What this clearly means is that FIFA - if asked by Cameroon Football Federation - could ban Matip from playing for Liverpool for the duration of the AFCON, plus a further 5 days extra. If this happens, Matip will be out for 4-6 weeks, and will miss the following games:

* Jan 7th: Middlesbrough (FA CUP)

* Jan 11th: Southampton (EFL)

* Jan 14th: Manchester United

* Jan 21st: Swansea City

* Jan 25th: Southampton (LEAGUE CUP)

* Feb 1st: Chelsea

* Feb 4th: Hull City

Will Cameroon follow through with the threat? The Federation's ire is understandable, especially the point about using previous internationals for 'development' purposes. That said, forcing someone to play for their country is surely not the best way to build squad morale...?

* Matip: Reportedly on £100k-a-week


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