• Home
  • Topics
  • Can football players unilaterally retire from international duty? The Joël Matip & Allan Nyom cases

Can football players unilaterally retire from international duty? The Joël Matip & Allan Nyom cases

Football player mid air to kick ball
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 By Andrew Smith

The prospect of a player being deemed ineligible by FIFA to play for his club, because of his unwillingness to report for international duty, recently came to the fore in two cases involving (former) Cameroon international defenders plying their trade in the Premier League, namely Joël Matip of Liverpool and Allan Nyom of West Bromwich Albion. 

With regard to Matip, prior to Liverpool’s third round FA Cup replay at Plymouth Argyle in January[1], it was reported that Jürgen Klopp was seeking legal advice as regards Matip’s eligibility for selection, having failed to receive confirmation from FIFA or the Cameroon football federation on this issue.[2] Matip had not been selected in Cameroon’s final 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations and, so far as Liverpool were concerned, had retired from international football in 2015. Matip had, however, initially been listed in Cameroon’s preliminary squad for the international tournament due to take place on 14 January – 5 February 2017. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding Matip’s eligibility, the player had been omitted from Liverpool’s squad to face Manchester United and Plymouth, before FIFA gave the go ahead for him to play for the club, in time for their Premier League clash with Swansea.[3]

A similar situation arose in respect of Nyom, who reportedly flew to Cameroon from France in January 2017 to inform officials from the Cameroon football federation that he did not wish to represent his country at the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations.[4] Nyom was also left out of Cameroon’s final 23-man squad for the tournament, but uncertainty arose in respect of his eligibility to play for WBA whilst the tournament was ongoing. In the event, Nyom was cleared to play by FIFA in time for WBA’s Premier League match against Sunderland.[5]  

To continue reading or watching login or register here

Already a member? Sign in

Get access to all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport including articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts.  Find out more here.

Related Articles

Written by

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

Andrew is a barrister practising from 11KBW in London.  He is ranked as a leading sports and employment law barrister by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Comments (1)

  • Kelvin Omuojine

    • 21 February 2017 at 19:56
    • #

    Good one! Particularly interesting is the reference to the Commentary on the old RSTP. Having followed the Nyom and Matip cases, I was of the opinion that the time and manner of communicating retirement from international football would be vital.


Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.


Legal Advisors

Upcoming Events

There are no up-coming events

Copyright © LawInSport Limited 2010 - 2022. These pages contain general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. LawInSport is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.