French Guiana Successfully Forfeit The Gold Cup
In an absurd first for major international tournaments (so you know it’s coming by way of the CONCACAF Gold Cup), a competing nation has knowingly and willingly knocked itself out of the competition. CONCACAF confirmed that French Guiana’s 0-0 draw with Honduras would be forfeited, handing a 3-0 victory to the Central American side after French Guiana deliberately fielded an ineligible player, 37-year-old former French international Florent Malouda.
CONCACAF told French Guiana before the tournament that Malouda, who appeared for France not once, not twice but 80 times, would be ineligible for the Gold Cup under FIFA guidelines. As a non-FIFA association (the country is an overseas department of France), French Guiana essentially said f**k that, included Malouda in their 23-man squad, put him in their starting XI against Honduras and made him captain.
Was it a political statement about anarchy being the way forward? Was it the 37-year-old legend pulling 41-year-old manager Jair Karam aside and saying “Listen, I’m going to play, and I’m going to enjoy myself. I mean, I’m Florent Malouda, bro” or was it simply a preemptive strike at CONCACAFing themselves before CONCACAF could have them CONCACAF'd?
In the end, French Guiana successfully CONCACAF'd themselves right in the head. In light of this tournament’s quality, perhaps French Guiana, knowing that almost every nation is dragged into the quarterfinals and made to continue playing, decided that qualifying for the Gold Cup for the first time ever was a terrible mistake, one they hugely regretted and needed to rectify immediately.
“After analyzing and reading and knowing all these rules,” said coach Karam regarding CONCACAF explicitly telling him again and again not to play Malouda, “we decided to take our chances.”
We can only conclude that when Karam talks about taking their chances, he means the chance that French Guiana would be sanctioned, forced to forfeit and mercifully sent home. Chance taken.
With two losses from their opening two games, they’ve been eliminated. They’ll play Costa Rica tonight in what will be another hugely embarrassing match for the confederation and the tournament as a whole.