Tunisia Appeal To Court Of Arbitration For Sport Over AFCON Ban

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) have lodged an official appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) concerning the potential AFCON ban that was threatened from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which would keep the Tunisia national team from taking part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The punishment was threatened by the African football governing body after Tunisia refused to apologise and follow through on other sanctions due to the behaviour of fans, players and officials following a controversial quarter-final game at the AFCON, in which Tunisia were knocked out 2-1 by hosts Equatorial Guinea, thanks in great part to ridiculous refereeing decisions by Rajindraparsad Seechurn on the day. He was later punished for his poor performance.

Due to the reaction of the Tunisia fans in invading the pitch, as well as the manner in which authorities and players from the Tunisian delegation reacted to the result of the match, a number of other punishments were dolled out to the parties mentioned at CAF’s emergency meeting held in Bata during the Nations Cup.

“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 behavior of the president of the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF), Mr. Wadie Jary, entering the field of play and strongly criticizing the referee and CAF; and vandalism by some Tunisian players which included breaking of a door in the locker room area and a fridge,” the original statement read.

As a result the Tunisians were asked to apologise to CAF for suggestions that they were unethical and biased, while they received a $50,000 fine for their actions and have been asked to pay for damaged to facilities at the stadium that were damaged, once the local authorities provide an estimated cost.

The FTF refused to apologise, however, and so CAF have demanded that they issue a written apology by March 31 or face a ban from the next Nations Cup in 2017.

Getting CAS Involved

The Tunisians have responded by referring the matter to the CAS, which is the highest appeals court with regards to sport, thereby giving them power to override a decision from CAF that is deemed unfair.

“The Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision of the Executive Committee of the African Football Confederation (CAF) which calls into question the participation of the FTF at the 2017 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN),” a statement from CAS read.

“The FTF’s statement of appeal is accompanied with a request for a stay. An arbitration procedure has been initiated and is being conducted in accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration,” added the statement.