Sunderland set to sack Eboue after FIFA ban
Sunderland said Thursday they intended to terminate the contract of Emmanuel Eboue before he had even kicked a ball after FIFA ordered the defender to serve a one-year ban over fees owed to a former agent.
However, the Ivory Coast international can automatically end the ban if he pays the money to his ex-agent Sebastien Boisseau, the world governing body said.
FIFA, announcing the suspension earlier on Thursday, said the ban covers “any football-related activity that will last for one year or until he pays the total outstanding amount owed to his former agent”.
In response, Premier League strugglers Sunderland said they had given the 32-year-old former Arsenal player, who joined the north-east side in a short-term deal earlier this month, two weeks’ notice.
Eboue has the right of appeal but it now looks as if his Sunderland career could end without him making a single first-team appearance.
His ban will be a further setback to Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce’s hopes of keeping the club in the lucrative Premier League, with the Black Cats now without Adam Johnson after the club sacked the former England midfielder following his admission of sexual activity with an under-age girl that has since seen the player jailed.
Sunderland, two points shy of safety, continue their quest for Premier League survival against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
“We have lost a hugely-talented player in Adam Johnson, irrespective of his indiscretions,” said Allardyce.
“He’s got what he deserved, but I have lost a talented player that I would have liked to have kept, but it’s taken out of my hands by other factors.
“Emmanuel Eboue — what part might he have played for us in the next eight games? Who knows now? I won’t be able to find out, a man as experienced as him at 32 years old.”
Sunderland have been hit by a series of off-field incidents, with chief executive Margaret Byrne also resigning after the club sacked Johnson.
Allardyce hinted there could be a way back for Eboue, saying: “There’ll still be a door open if those problems are sorted in the next seven to 14 days. If that’s the case, there may be a way back, but it’s hugely frustrating having spent so much time — and him committing so much time.
“There we go, but he probably relied on other people too much and didn’t keep a close enough eye on it himself to make sure it didn’t get to this situation, but unfortunately it has.”
Earlier, Sunderland confirmed they had given Eboue “notice of its intention to terminate the contract” after being advised by England’s governing Football Association of the FIFA ban.
A FIFA players’ status committee ruled in July 2013 in favour of agent Sebastien Boisseau in a contractual dispute with Eboue. In September 2014, the FIFA disciplinary committee fined the Ivory Coast star 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,000) for failing to comply with the decision.
He was then given a 120-day “grace period” to settle the debt before Boisseau would be entitled to request that a one-year ban be imposed.
Eboue appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but lost. After a new deadline for payment was set and passed, Boisseau “requested that the one-year ban be imposed on Mr Eboue in accordance with the decision of the FIFA disciplinary committee”, said a FIFA statement.
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