GENEVA (AP) — FIFA has awarded Republic of Congo a 3-0 win by default in a 2014 World Cup qualifier because Burkina Faso fielded an ineligible player when they drew 0-0 in June.
The case involves Cameroon-born defender Herve Zengue, who did not meet the requirements to represent Burkina Faso in the match played in Ouagadougou, FIFA said on Friday. The same player was involved in controversy before the 2012 African Cup of Nations when Namibia argued that it should have taken Burkina Faso's place at the tournament.
However, Namibia failed in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport when the panel ruled that Zengue, who married a Burkinabe woman, had a valid nationality certificate issued in 2006. FIFA's disciplinary committee ruling appears to contradict that verdict.
FIFA said Burkina Faso can appeal against its sanction, including a 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,550) fine, by mid-January. The verdict means that two of the four matches played in African qualifying Group E have been awarded by default because of ineligible players.
On Wednesday, FIFA confirmed that Niger would get a 3-0 victory because Gabon fielded midfielder Charly Moussono, who played for Cameroon at the 2006 Beach Soccer World Cup in Brazil. Republic of Congo is set to lead the table with six points. Niger and Gabon have three points, and Burkina Faso is set to drop to zero points.
Both cases involve players FIFA ruled ineligible for the World Cup after they played in the Confederation of African Football's signature tournament. Moussono played in all four of co-host Gabon's matches at the Jan. 21-Feb. 12 Cup of Nations even though he was technically ineligible.
Zengue played for Burkina Faso when it got 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Namibia in qualifying. Namibia had both appeals protesting Zengue's eligibility rejected by CAF, then went to the Swiss-based sports court for a hearing two weeks before the tournament kicked off.
"We must stop playing football if we can't abide by its rules," Namibia Football Association president John Muinjo said after the court accepted that Zengue's paperwork presented to the panel was in order.
Zengue did not play in the final tournament after Burkina Faso left out him and another player whose eligibility had been questioned. The African confederation could not be contacted for comment on Friday in calls to its Cairo headquarters.