English Premier League club Fulham denied Algerian allegations on Friday that they threatened to block the salary of midfielder Hameur Bouazza unless he skipped three World Cup qualifying this month.
Fulham said Bouazza had been asked to return to London to see a specialist over a shoulder injury but the accusation that he was threatened financially was not true. “That is a nonsense and is not true,” club spokesperson Sarah Brookes said on Friday.
Earlier this week, Algeria coach Rabah Saadane said he had decided to let Bouazza skip the qualifier against Liberia on Friday as well as games against Gambia on June 14 and 20 after pressure from the London-based club.
“Fulham put pressure on him, saying that if he did not return they would block his salary,” the coach told a press conference. “We felt it better to let him go but kept the door open for him return if he can.
“When we called him up last month, Fulham did send a medical certificate which said he needed a shoulder operation and we had him checked with a orthopaedic doctor in France, who also concluded it needed an operation,” Saadane added.
But the coach added the injury was not serious enough to stop him playing and Bouazza was used as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat by Senegal in their opening World Cup qualifier in Dakar last Saturday.
Bouazza is joined on the sidelines by Rangers midfielder Brahim Hemdani, who pulled a muscle in his debut against Senegal at the weekend. He will also miss all three Group Six qualifiers.