Everton’s hopes of playing Steven Pienaar in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea looked to have been dashed after a clarification of the rules for the African Nations Cup.
Everton had argued that they did not need to release the South African midfielder until after the match as his country’s first game was not until January 23 against Angola.
However, FIFA confirmed that the 14-day release rule related to the tournament’s opening game on January 20.
“In cases of disputes, the regulation states that associations can request players 14 days before the start of the tournament,” a FIFA spokesman said on Monday.
“The regulations are known by clubs. Usually the clubs and associations find a fruitful solution to any issue.”
Pienaar trained with Everton on Monday and manager David Moyes told Sky Sports News: “We believe that 14 days should apply to South Africa’s first match. I have spoken to the South Africa manager Carlos Alberto Parreira and they are clearly not pleased.
“But we pay the player’s wages and believe we are within our rights to keep him here to play against Chelsea in the first leg.”