FIFA suspends Senegal’s Pape Gueye over probe into midfielder’s transfer from Watford to Marseille


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FIFA suspended Senegal international Pape Gueye hours before he was due to line up in the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Friday because of a long-running transfer dispute between his club, Olympique Marseille, and Watford.

The 22-year-old had been in the line-up to take on Guinea in a Group B match in Bafoussam but was taken off the team sheet minutes before kick-off, coach Aliou Cisse said after the match.

“Pape Gueye had an administrative problem just before the match kicked off. Five minutes before, we were notified that FIFA suspended him over a transfer between his club, Marseille, and Watford,” Cisse told reporters.

“His lawyer informed us in the morning around 11 a.m., but just before the match, we had the confirmation. That’s why we removed him from the match sheet,” Cisse said, adding that Gueye would appeal his suspension.


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French sports daily L’Equipe reported on Saturday that the suspension is the latest twist in a saga that started two years ago when the French-born midfielder signed a pre-contract at Watford ahead of the end of his deal at Ligue 2 club Le Havre.

The newspaper said that soon afterwards, Gueye changed his agent, who recommended he pull out of the deal. Instead, he signed a four-year contract at Marseille in July 2020.

It said Watford filed a complaint to FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, last February.

The suspension leaves Gueye facing an uncertain future and puts a stop to his participation at the tournament in Cameroon for a Senegal squad already severely hit by COVID-19 infections.

Senegal was itself in a wrangle, with Watford over the use of injured midfielder Ismaila Sarr, but the two are now working together on his rehabilitation.

Senegal hopes Sarr might yet be able to travel to Cameroon and participate in the knockout stage of the tournament.



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