BATA, Equatorial Guinea (AP) – Tunisia’s football federation was fined US$50,000 on Tuesday and threatened with a ban, while a referee was sent home and suspended for six months in the fallout from the chaotic African Cup of Nations quarterfinal against host Equatorial Guinea.
Tunisia was also ordered to pay for damages to a door and a refrigerator in the team’s dressing room at Bata Stadium.
However, Africa’s top football body did not announce any sanctions against players despite members of the Tunisian squad chasing the referee and aiming kicks and punches at him as he fled with a riot police escort at the end of the ill-tempered match.
The Confederation of African Football announced its decisions after holding disciplinary meetings on Monday and Tuesday over the on-field clashes involving players, coaching staff and officials at Saturday’s game. Equatorial Guinea won 2-1 in extra time after being helped out by a hugely contentious refereeing decision in the dying seconds of normal time.
CAF said Mauritian referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn had been suspended for poor refereeing after his decision to award Equatorial Guinea a contentious late penalty sparked the trouble. It ultimately denied the Tunisians – who were leading 1-0 at the time – a place in the semifinals.
Furious Tunisian players were guilty of insulting and trying to assault the referee after the game, CAF said, but none of the players were named or punished, according to the statement late Tuesday.
CAF also said the country’s national federation president Wadie Jary went onto the field to confront and criticize Seechurn. Jary resigned from the tournament’s organizing committee on Sunday.
The behaviour of the Tunisians was “insolent, aggressive and unacceptable,” CAF said, although no players or officials were banned.
CAF also appeared to brush over the numerous occasions substitute players and coaching staff members from both teams clashed in front of the dugouts during the game.
Along with the US$50,000 fine, CAF ordered the Tunisian federation to send a letter of apology by the end of Thursday for suggesting the referee’s decision was part of intentional bias on CAF’s part against Tunisia. If the Tunisians did not apologise, CAF said, they could be thrown out of the next African Cup of Nations tournament in 2017.
CAF said the Tunisian federation had “clearly suggested that CAF and its officials were questionable and biased against Tunisia in general and that CAF, its officials and committees were devoid of sporting ethics, causing in a premeditated manner the elimination of Tunisia.”
Also, Equatorial Guinea’s federation was fined US$5,000 for fans running onto the field in the moments after the home team equalised from the disputed penalty. Equatorial Guinea went on to win in extra time to make the semifinals for the first time.