Rajindraparsad Seechurn

Tunisia fined $50,000, referee suspended after chaotic end to AFCON match

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A referee making a poor call that helps ruin your tournament doesn’t give a team the right to reign chaos down on a stadium.

That’s the gist of a ruling from the Confederation of African Football that suspended referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn for doing his job poorly but also came down on Tunisia for the way the side reacted to his call.

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Tunisia led 1-0 in its quarterfinal match against host nation Equatorial Guinea when a baffling penalty was given by Seechurn. How bad? You be the judge:

That led to an equalizer, and an extra time winner for Equatorial Guinea. It also led to Tunisian players chasing the referee around the field and a bevy of awful off-field behavior. It got as far as the head of Tunisia’s FA quitting the AFCON organizing committee, and widespread anger and a “wave of hate” from Tunisian fans.

From the Associated Press’ Gerald Imray, who has been all over the story:

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.

Along with the $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 apologize, CAF said, they could be thrown out of the next African Cup of Nations tournament in 2017.

Well, it’s not like CAF tournaments have done their best to abide by fair play, is it?

In any event, it’s a wild story that continues to take wild turns. And being so close to the final of a major tournament, you can’t help but empathize a bit with Tunisia, searching for its first title since 2004.