CAF suspend referee and demand Tunisia apology
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has suspended the referee who took charge of Equatorial Guinea's controversial Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final victory over Tunisia, and demanded an apology over accusations of bias from the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF).
Host nation Equatorial Guinea progressed to the last four of the Cup of Nations on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Tunisia.
However, chaotic scenes followed the match, which went to extra time, with Tunisia players and supporters seemingly outraged by the decisions of referee Seechurn Rajindraparsad.
The Mauritian official awarded a penalty to Equatorial Guinea in the second half of normal time, despite there appearing to be minimal contact as Ivan Bolado tumbled under a challenge from Hamza Mathlouthi.
At the final whistle, players and officials from Tunisia, including the president of the FTF, confronted Rajindraparsad on the pitch amid unrest in the stands and CAF have now acted following an extraordinary meeting in Bata.
Rajindraparsad has been suspended for six months for "poor performance" and delisted from CAF's elite referees panel.
The FTF, meanwhile, have been ordered to apologise for a letter they sent to CAF suggesting bias on the part of African football's governing body, or to produce "irrefutable evidence to substantiate the accusations".
Should the FTF not provide the required apology or evidence to back up their claims, they face further sanctions, having already been fined $50,000 for the behaviour of their players and officials.
A CAF statement on Tuesday initially addressed Rajindraparsad's display.
It read: "The Referees Committee noted with regret the poor performance of the referee during the match, including an unacceptable failure to maintain calm and ensure proper control of the players during the match.
"Hence the Referees Committee decided:
- To end the mission of Seechurn Rajindraparsad as a referee for the Orange AFCON 2015
- To suspend him for a period of six (6) months for poor performance
- To delist him from the CAF “A” Elite Referees panel."
Moving on to the action taken against the FTF, CAF's statement continued: "The incidents noted in the meeting included a pitch invasion by fans, the aggressive attitude of some supporters in the stands, invading of the pitch after the final whistle by players and substitutes of the Tunisian team - insulting the referee of the match and trying to physically assault him - the regrettable behaviour of the president of the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF), Mr. Wadie Jary, entering the field of play and strongly criticising the referee and CAF; and vandalism by some Tunisian players which included the breaking of a door in the locker room area and a fridge.
"The disciplinary board also studied two letters sent by the Tunisian Federation dated the 2 February 2015; the first letter concerning the explanation of the FTF in connection with the above incidents, the second correspondence requesting an investigation.
"The second letter 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 from the Orange AFCON 2015.
"The disciplinary jury of CAF instructed the Tunisian Federation to send to CAF, before February 5 at midnight, a letter of apology for the insinuations of bias and lack of ethics against CAF and its officials, or to present irrefutable evidence to substantiate the accusations of the FTF.
"Should the federation not send this letter of apology or required evidence before the stated deadline, the disciplinary panel would suggest to the Executive Committee of CAF additional sanctions, including the possibility not to accept the participation of the national team of Tunisia in the next edition of Cup of Nations, AFCON, 2017."