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FIFA is facing a court challenge in a club versus country row after Belgian side Charleroi started legal proceedings claiming football’s governing body was abusing its dominant market position.

Charleroi’s challenge was backed by the powerful G14 lobby representing many of Europe’s leading clubs.

The Belgians filed proceedings with the local Chamber of Commerce after their Morocco player Abdelmajid Oulmers returned injured from a friendly international with Burkina Faso last November.

Charleroi paid for surgery to torn ankle ligaments which saw him out for eight months during which time Charleroi continued to pay his wages.

The club’s lawyer, Jean Pierre Deprez, alleges FIFA is breaking European Union laws by forcing clubs to release players for international matches.

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