Two days following their defeat in the Coupe de France final against Toulouse, Nantes became embroiled in a controversy concerning their management of Algerian U17 international, Younes Ben Ali.
Reports emerged, Monday, that Nantes had taken the decision to terminate the player’s contract due to his inclusion in Algeria’s U17 Africa Cup of Nations squad that began last Saturday.
Ben Ali confirmed the rumours in a statement to the press.
“I’ve been playing for FC Nantes since I’m a kid. I love this club and I’ve always respected FCN,“ Ben Ali said.
Nantes refused permission for Younes Ben Ali to take part in the tournament, as it does not appear on FIFA’s schedule.
The U17 team from Loire-Atlantique had been counting on Ben Ali for the remaining fixtures of the season.
It is believed that he was warned that his contract would be cancelled if he participated in the event without the team’s consent.
In response to his decision to join the Algerian squad, Nantes proposed a modification to the Player’s contract that would have ended it.
However, Ben Ali declined to sign the amendment and remains with the team, even the Player’s agent was reportedly taken aback by his choice to participate in the CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations.
Apparently, Ben Ali had been at odds with Nantes U17 manager Francis Liaigre prior to his decision.
“This year, I had the opportunity to represent my country, Algeria,“ Ben Ali said.
“Not everybody has that chance. It’s a great pride. With the club, we disagreed on some points. But I respected what I had to do. I made the choice to respect my country, and I want my choice to be respected.”