Joel Matip was left out of Liverpool FC’s squad for the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday afternoon following confusion as to his status with the Cameroon national team. Although Matip was not selected for Cameroon’s final 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations, and purportedly retired from international duty after his last appearance in 2015, his club are yet to receive confirmation as to whether it would be on the receiving end of sanctions should it choose to select him.
The rules governing the release of players to association (international) teams are found in Annexe 1 of FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.
The starting point is that clubs are obliged to release their player if they are called upon by the association concerned:
“Article 1 – Principles
- Clubs are obliged to release their registered players to the representative teams of the country for which the player is eligible to play on the basis of his nationality if they are called up by the association concerned. Any agreement between a player and a club to the contrary is prohibited.”