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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

French Guiana forfeit Honduras match for playing Florent Malouda

French Guiana must forfeit a Gold Cup match after starting the ineligible Florent Malouda in Tuesday's 0-0 draw against Honduras, CONCACAF ruled.

Former Chelsea winger Malouda, 37, started the group-stage match in Houston despite previously playing 80 times for France in a violation of FIFA rules, which are being observed for the tournament by the regional governing body.

CONCACAF's disciplinary committee also fined French Guiana and banned Malouda for the remainder of the tournament.

"The French Guiana national team is ruled to forfeit its Gold Cup match played against Honduras on July 11, 2017, and the official result is ruled a 3-0 victory for Honduras," the statement read.

"The French Guiana Football League is fined an undisclosed amount and Florent Malouda has been suspended for two official matches, during which he will serve a concurrent stadium ban."

Florent Malouda, right, played for French Guiana at the Gold Cup.
Florent Malouda has been suspended for two matches for taking the field against Honduras at the Gold Cup.

Malouda had previously been able to represent the team because French Guiana, an overseas region of France, is a member of CONCACAF but not FIFA.

He helped French Guiana win bronze at the Caribbean Cup in June, but unlike the Gold Cup, second-tier CONCACAF competitions do not adhere to FIFA's eligibility guidelines.

The result leaves French Guiana on zero points in Group A with virtually no chance of advancing ahead of Friday's match against Costa Rica.

Malouda sat out French Guiana's opening defeat to Canada, but coach Jair Karam decided to risk his eligibility in the second game.

"We knew it was a big environment that was surrounding the case of Malouda so we decided not to have him in the first match," Karam said before Friday's ruling. "But after analyzing and reading and knowing all these rules, we decided to take our chances for the second match."

Karam cited the case of Jocelyn Angloma, another former France star who played for Guadeloupe in the 2007 Gold Cup, as well as FIFA's recent relaxing of rules surrounding players eligible for Kosovo as precedents for his case, but CONCACAF did not agree.

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