Senegal international striker Diafra Sakho and West Ham are being investigated by Fifa over his withdrawal from Senegal squad at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sakho, 25, pulled out of the Equatorial Guinea showpiece with a back injury, but later featured for Sam Allardyce’s side in their 1-0 win over Bristol City in the FA Cup.
Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings for “a potential violation of regulations”, according to the BBC Sport.
Under the terms of Fifa rules, a player cannot appear for a club if he was meant to be on international duty.
West Ham claimed Sakho could not play at the Afcon because a back injury had prevented him from flying. They deny any wrongdoing and are optimistic the striker will not be sanctioned.
A Fifa spokesperson is quoted by the BBC Sport as saying: “We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the player Diafra Sakho and the club West Ham United for a potential violation of the Fifa regulations on the status and transfer of players.”
The spokesperson declined to give details about the likely duration of the case, or potential penalties, should the Hammers be found to have contravened the rules.
West Ham said in a statement: “Diafra Sakho and West Ham United vigorously deny that they have acted in breach of Fifa regulations. They regard the proceedings as clearly unfounded and are requesting their dismissal.
Sakho was not included in West Ham’s squad for Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League.