Fifa has hinted that Chelsea’s Claude Makelele could have gone through with his decision to quit internationals.
France coach Raymond Domenech angered Chelsea by threatening him with a club ban if he declined a call-up for Euro 2008 clashes with Georgia and Italy, reports BBC NewsOnline.
But Fifa spokesman Andreas Herren has revealed a player can quit providing he informed his country before a call-up.
And BBC Sport has now learned Makele wrote to FFF director general Jacques Lambert 48 hours before he was picked.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho accused France of treating the 33-year-old like a “slave” by ignoring his wish to quit – and Makelele has since agreed to play for his country again.
Herren told AFP: “The general situation is that any player is free to decide that he is not playing for his national team.
“There is no Fifa rule to prevent any player stopping his international career, that’s up to him.
“The one thing that has to be considered is that the intention to leave a national team, or put an end to an international career, needs to be communicated prior to a specific summons.”
And BBC Sport understands that Makele did this by faxing a letter to Lambert before a meeting at Chelsea’s training ground betwen Domenech, coach Jose Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon on 22 August – and two days before the squad was announced.
Chelsea are likely to point to the letter as proof that they and Makelele followed the correct procedures, and he was within his rights to go through with his decision to quit, first announced after the World Cup final defeat against Italy in Berlin.
Domenech took a hardline stance on Makelele’s international career, warning him he would face a two-game suspension at club level for every game he declined to play for France.