The Ghana Football Association have warned Fulham manager Roy Hodgson he cannot prevent John Pantsil from joining up with the Black Stars for the beginning of their African Nations warm-up camp.
Hodgson said on Thursday he would not allow the Fulham right-back to join the camp, which begins on December 27 - just one day before Fulham play Chelsea in the west London derby. FIFA rules require Hodgson to release Pantsil for the start of the training camp as it begins 14 days before the start of the tournament.
"He cannot just go and say that. I am surprised that a man of his standing is taking this stance," a Ghana FA spokesman said. "Mr Hodgson does not determine what the law is. He doesn't have the power to breach the law."
The football governing body can dock Fulham any points they pick up against Chelsea if Pantsil plays. One way the two sides can resolve the matter is if Fulham come to an agreement with the Ghana FA which allows Pantsil to join up with his international team-mates after the Chelsea game.
It seems that Hodgson's stance may have reduced the likelihood of that happening, though.
"The laws are clear and we have to go about it in a professional matter," the spokesman continued.
"The issue here is flexibility. To go out and take that position in public through the media he is being a bit unprofessional."
Hodgson said on Thursday the club had received a letter from the Ghana FA asking that Pantsil be released for the training camp, which is taking place in Nelspruit in north-eastern South Africa. A host of Barclays Premier League players are taking part in the tournament, which is taking place in Angola.
Hodgson expects all the African Nations teams that begin their training camps on 27 December to back down and ask their players to report two days later given there are six league fixtures on December 28.
"It's a bit disrespectful of the African nations to write to the English clubs asking their players to be released on December 27," Hodgson said.
"They know that we all have matches on the 28th. It's probably just a little bit of oversight on their part and I don't expect for one minute for Ghana to insist that John Pantsil meets up with them on 27th, the day before we play Chelsea, or Michael Essien leave for the same fixture.''
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