French Guiana have been forced to forfeit their Gold Cup match against Honduras after fielding former France international Florent Malouda, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has ruled.
The team from the overseas territory of France were in breach of FIFA rules by playing Malouda, who was capped 80 times by France, in their 0-0 draw at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday (July 11).
World football's governing body prohibit players from switching nationalities once they have featured in a competitive international.
As well as awarding a 3-0 victory to Honduras, CONCACAF's Disciplinary Committee has also fined the French Guiana Football League an undisclosed amount and suspended Malouda for two official matches, during which he will serve a concurrent stadium ban.
"As a consequence of fielding Florent Malouda, who was confirmed by the Disciplinary Committee to be ineligible to play in the Gold Cup 2017 according to the applicable regulations, the Disciplinary Committee has levied sanctions and fines against the French Guiana Football League and has suspended the player ruled ineligible," a statement reads.
The result leaves French Guiana on zero points in Group A, with Honduras on three and both Canada and Costa Rica on four.
The final games in the section are due to take place at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium tomorrow, when French Guiana face Costa Rica and Canada go up against Honduras.
French Guiana-born Malouda represented the regional team at the Caribbean Cup last month, but was not selected for their Gold Cup opener against Canada, which they lost 4-2.
The 37-year-old, who played in the 2006 World Cup final and currently plays for Indian Super League team Delhi Dynamos, was not eligible to feature in the Gold Cup as it is held under FIFA rules.
Action at the Gold Cup continued today with defending champions Mexico being held to a goalless draw by Jamaica at Sports Authority Field in Denver.
The Group C clash was a rematch of the 2015 final, which Mexico won 3-1.
Both sides moved onto four points from two matches, but the holders occupy top spot having scored more goals - three to Jamaica’s two.
Mexico had the clearest opportunities with Erick Torres firing a shot against the right post in the 23rd minute and Jesus Molina forcing defender Jermaine Taylor to head his attempt off the goal line in the 39th minute.
Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake, voted Major League Soccer's top stopper last year, saved Elias Hernandez's effort from 24 yards eight minutes after the break.
Sports Authority Field also played host to the Group C encounter between El Salvador and Curacao as the former claimed a 2-0 victory to end a five-game winless streak in the Gold Cup.
Gerson Mayen gave El Salvador a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute, latching onto a pass from Rodolfo Zelaya before beating goalkeeper Eloy Room from eight yards.
Three minutes later, Zelaya got on his name on the scoresheet to become the first Salvadoran to score in three different Gold Cup editions.
Nelson Bonilla lifted a pass from left to right for the 29-year-old forward, who ran into the right side of the box and found the left side of the net from 16 yards.
Curacao were awarded a 42nd-minute penalty following a Darwin Cerén handball, but Gevaro Nepomuceno’s attempt was saved by Derby Carrillo.
Group C is due to conclude at San Antonio’s Alamodome on Saturday (July 15) when Jamaica face El Salvador and Mexico meet now-eliminated Curacao.
El Salvador are third in the section with three points.
The top two teams in each of the three groups advance to the quarter-finals, along with the two best third-place teams.