Joel Matip not to be sanctioned by FIFA as defender prepares to reject AFCON call-up

Joel Matip not to be sanctioned by FIFA as defender prepares to reject AFCON call-up

The Liverpool defender won't be sanctioned for missing AFCON.

Oliver Emmerson

Liverpool defender Joel Matip is set to escape any potential sanctions from FIFA after confirming that he'll reject any call-up from Cameroon to participate in next month's African Cup of Nations. 

Reports had suggested that the Cameroon football authorities were going to pressure football's governing body into punishing the centre-back for skipping the tournament, having been disappointed at his refusal to participate for his nation.

No suspension

A suggested punishment had been suspending Matip from football for the length of the competition, however it's now regarded as extremely unlikely that he'll be sanctioned.

Matip hasn't played for Cameroon in over a year, having quit to focus on club football following participating for his nation in the 2014 World Cup.

It's been clear since he joined Liverpool in the summer that he wasn't wanting to participate in the tournament, and the threat of a ban is being seen as a last minute drastic measure by his country to change his mind, one that hasn't worked. 

Mane to miss a month, Matip stay crucial

The Reds are already set to miss Sadio Mane for over a month as he plans to represent Senegal in the competition, so any ban for Matip would have come as a huge blow to Jürgen Klopp, who is planning to spend in January to cover Mane's absence.

Liverpool have a hugely improved defensive record this season with Matip in the team, as oppose to when the defender has been sidelined due to injury, with an ongoing ankle problem keeping him out of a few games. 

Speaking about his decision not to participate a few weeks ago, Matip admitted that "it's not an easy decision" to turn down his country, but said that he wants to "focus on Liverpool" and therefore thinks he made the right choice.