Fellaini sparks club vs country row

Everton and Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini has sparked a new club versus country row after pulling out of Belgium’s World Cup tie with Estonia.

Fellaini played in his country’s win over Turkey at the weekend, but withdrew from the squad ahead of Wednesday’s qualifier to have surgery on his wisdom teeth.

And Belgium boss Dick Advocaat has asked FIFA to ban the player from representing Everton this weekend, claiming that Fellaini did not seek permission to miss the midweek clash with Estonia.

Everton were under the impression that an agreement had been reached with Advocaat that would allow Fellaini to report back to the club early if he played in the match against Turkey.  

But under FIFA regulations, if a player misses an international fixture without permission, he will be banned from playing any match for five days.

And the Belgian FA, who clearly see Fellaini’s decision to go ahead with dental surgery on Monday as something of a kick in the teeth, have asked FIFA to apply the five-day rule.

“The coach has talked with Fellaini, but I do not know what he said – I would imagine that he tried to convince him that the operation could be done another time – but he obviously did not succeed,” said Belgium FA’s director general Jean-Marie Phillips.

“Mr. Advocaat has asked that the FIFA regulations strictly apply,” he added.

If FIFA do decide to punish the player, he would be ruled out of Everton’s home-tie with Premier League new-boys Wolves.

But Toffees' spokesman Ian Ross is adamant that the club have done nothing wrong, saying:

“It would be very harsh of FIFA to invoke the five-day ruling. The arrangement was struck between the player and Mr. Advocaat, who changed his mind which he is entitled to do, but it seems harsh then to turn around and point the finger at Everton.

“You don’t want a £15 million footballer being ruled out because of a technicality, as far as were concerned he was released to us for both games.

“He decided not to play after talking with Mr. Advocaat, he got the go-ahead to have the operation, and that is our understanding from the player."