Looks like Canada will be even more thin than normal at forward for the Gold Cup with Olivier Occean being handed a six match ban by FIFA after his actions in the game against Cuba on October 12th. The Canadian Soccer Association was notified of the ban today after it was decided at the November 20th meeting of the FIFA Disciplinary Council (seems a bit slow).
Occean served the first game of the six match suspension when Canada took on Honduras. That was the automatic punishment for his sending off against Cuba but now the remaining five matches will have to be served during Canada's next official matches which can include the Gold Cup.
The six match ban also comes with a side of fine as the player will be forced to pay a total of CHF 8,500 which works out to over $9,000 Canadian. The player and the CSA can still appeal the suspension and the fine but based on FIFA's track record it seems unlikely that it would change anything should they chose to do so. The best route to take may be the same one that Christine Sinclair took which is to accept the punishment and try to move forward.
So why a fairly hefty fine and such a long ban for Occean? Well, apparently Occean breached not one but two articles of the FCD with his actions against Cuba. He was sent off for his role in the scuffle that followed Will Johnson heading home Canada's second goal of the game but at the time even that seemed a bit harsh as not much really happened. The FIFA release on his suspension says that he is guilty of "committing an act of unsporting conduct" and further of "displaying several acts of unsporting behaviour and using offensive language towards match officials"
That would indicate that it was not just the little bit of pushing and shoving that took place which led to his harsh punishment but that what he had to say to the ref also played a role. It was clear that Occean was heated after being sent off and did have a few things to say but now it appears that he must have crossed a line in the comments that he made to the officials before leaving the field.
Losing him for the Gold Cup will be a blow to Canada's already thin attacking options and will serve as just another reminder of just how efficient and likeable FIFA are.