Papiss Cisse Potentially Unavailable For Swansea Match

Julian Finney

The relations between Newcastle United and the Senegal Football Association were somewhat soured by the club's refusal to release Papiss Cisse for the Olympic Soccer Tournament over the summer. On the back of Cisse's latest injury withdrawal, it may have come time that the piper demands to be paid.

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 annex. This restriction on playing for the club shall, moreover, be prolonged by five days in the event that the player, for whatsoever reason, did not wish to or was unable to comply with the call-up.

--Annex 1, Article 5 of the Commentary on the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players

Papiss Cisse was called in to the Senegal National team for their friendly against Niger on Wednesday. Having been withdrawn at the half during the match v. West Ham United on Sunday due to a back complaint, however, he was not released by the club for this call up. The club must in this situation notify the Senegal Football Association that the player is injured, at which point Article 4 kicks in:

A player who is unable to comply with a call-up from the Association that he is eligible to represent on the basis of his nationality owing to injury or illness shall, if the Association so requires, agree to undergo a medical examination by a doctor of that Association’s choice. If the player so wishes, such medical examination shall take place on the territory of the Association where he is registered. [ed. note - it says Association, but in the sub-points for this Article clearly indicate that the player can request to be seen in the territory of his club registry, which makes sense.]

There is an amount of this that is going to have happened behind the scenes, of course, but the nature of the Senegal's complaint is that they "have not received any proof he is injured (Luke Edwards, The Telegraph) which we can assume to mean one of three potential root problems:

1) Newcastle held Cisse out without notifying Senegal of the injury in time,

2) Senegal failed to exercise their option to have the player examined but are still feeling a little steamed and intend to raise a stink in retribution for the Olympics thing or

3) Senegal had the player examined and their physician determined that there was no real injury that should preclude him from participating in the call-up.

Ultimately, we should know soon whether Cisse will be excluded from Newcastle's match v. Swansea City - which could be significant considered in light of Shola Ameobi's flight to and from Miami to make his debut with the Nigeria national team. The Special One, Jr. will then have only 1 fit senior striker to pile upon the absences of Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez prepared to play a full 90 minutes against the Welsh side.

If the Players' Status Committee does not act quickly (as in today) to resolve the dispute, Newcastle will likely have to hold Cisse out anyway.

If a club refuses to release a player or neglects to do so despite the provisions of this annex, the FIFA Players’ Status Committee shall furthermore request the Association to which the club belongs to declare any match(es) in which the player took part to have been lost by the club concerned. Any points thus gained by the club in question shall be forfeited.

It's an ugly situation, and at the very least, Senegal look as though they are quite happy to make life difficult for Newcastle United. It perhaps bears remembering that this is precipitated upon a friendly match. In the perpetual club v. country row, this could potentially be the next piece in the arsenal of your argument, whichever side you weigh in on.

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