Two days after losing the Coupe de France final against Toulouse, Nantes have sparked controversy over their handling of Algerian U17 international Younes Ben Ali. This morning, reports had indicated that the club had taken the decision to terminate the player’s contract because Ben Ali joined the squad that was to take part in the U17 AFCON, which started last Saturday in Algeria. Ben Ali spoke to the media today to confirm the rumours.
“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. According to RMC Sport, Nantes denied Ben Ali’s request to play in the tournament, because the competition is not part of the FIFA calendar. The Loire-Atlantique U17 side were relying on Ben Ali for the last few games of the season. The young Algerian was reportedly told that his contract would be terminated should he choose to play the tournament without the club’s agreement.
The outlet adds that Ben Ali then joined the Algerian squad anyway. As a response, Nantes drafted an amendment to Ben Ali’s contract to terminate it. The player has chosen not to sign it. RMC Sport add that the player’s representative was surprised at his client’s decision to play in the competition. In any case, Ben Ali has reportedly been in conflict with Nantes U17 coach Francis Liaigre. “This year, I had the opportunity to reprensent my country, Algeria“, assessed Ben Ali. “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.” Get French Football News has reached out to FC Nantes for comment. The club have yet to respond.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval