Hodgson willing to take Pantsil risk

Fulham could be deducted points if manager Roy Hodgson fulfils his promise to play John Pantsil in the Cottagers’ Barclays Premier League clash with Chelsea later this month.

Pantsil is due to join up with his Ghana team-mates on December 27 for the Black Stars’ pre-African Nations Cup training camp in South Africa.

FIFA rules state that clubs must release their players 14 days before the start of any recognised international tournament, which obliges Fulham to release the defender on December 27 – one day before their match with Chelsea.

Should Pantsil play against Chelsea, the Football Association of Ghana can request that any points the Cottagers pick up against Carlo Ancelotti’s side be forfeited.

Hodgson, however, said: “I expect Pantsil to be playing for us on the 28th and he will unless FIFA intervene and insist he goes.

“It’s a bit disrespectful of the African nations to write to the English clubs asking their players to be released on the 27th of December. 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.”

The Ghana FA were unavailable for comment on the matter.

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