French-language soccer players who have been in the country for World Cup qualifying will be required to attend English-language classes to be eligible for their team’s World Cup berth.
The move follows similar restrictions imposed last year for players in Spain who were not in the league or academy.
This year’s French-speaking squads are comprised of players from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United States.
This will mark the second time France has imposed restrictions on the sport’s most popular league, La Liga, after a similar measure was introduced in the French-dominated UEFA-backed UEFA Champions League.
The decision by France to ban English-speaking players was announced by FIFA on Tuesday, the FIFA website reported.
France has banned players from the country who are not in league or league-level football for the duration of the World Series of International Footballers’ Association (CIFAF) tournament, which begins in Russia on April 10 and runs until April 18.
The announcement came as FIFA was facing criticism over the issue in its annual congress in Switzerland on Wednesday.
The association’s executive committee voted to impose sanctions against a number of officials, including head of the UEFA federation, Michel Platini, as well as French football authorities, according to a report by Reuters.
It said the decision was taken at a meeting of FIFA’s executive board on Tuesday evening and was confirmed by FIFA’s general secretary, Jerome Valcke, at a press conference later that evening.
FIFA is also banning the French players from playing in the upcoming World Cup.
The ban does not apply to French players who are part of their national team.
The European Football Federation (EFL) will also ban French players for the upcoming tournament, the EFL said.
La Liga has been plagued by scandal since the death of star forward Diego Maradona, who was shot dead by police in Spain in 1995.
Last year, a group of French players and supporters were charged with involvement in a crime related to Maradonna’s death.
The charges were later dropped after they were found not guilty.