The Confederation of African Football announced that it had rejected an appeal by Tunisia against $50,000 fine for violent conduct by its players at the 2015 African Nations Cup. However, CAF felt that there is no need to ban the North African country from the next edition of the tournament following the Tunisian Football Federation made a formal apology for accusing CAF of being biased concerning the case. The continental body has set a deadline for Tunisia football federation to apologize or face exclusion from the next tournament in 2017.
The case is related to an African Cup quarterfinal match on January 31, when a disputed penalty in the last minute of normal time which helped the host Equatorial Guinea eliminate Tunisia with final score 2-1 in extra time. Tunisia were leading 1-0 and were seconds away from the semifinals before the penalty changed the game.
The decision eventually gave a massive blow to the Tunisian players who aimed punches and kicks at the referee at the end of the game for awarding the penalty. As the consequence, Tunisian officials accused CAF of bias against it for the contentious decision. CAF decided to gave fine to Tunisia $50,000 for the behavior of its players, but also demanded the federation apologize by March 31 for making the bias accusation.
On March 13, CAF finally head Tunisia’s appeal in Dakar, Senegal and the Tunisian federation showed “great dignity” and apologized. “The appeal board noted that during the deliberations, the Tunisian federation began its presentation with a formal apology,” said CAF. The appeal was presented by federation vice president Maher Snoussi, while the one who had led the Tunisian protest in Equatorial Guinea was Tunisian Football Federation president, Wadie Jary. He resigned from the Africa Cup’s organizing committee and was suspended by CAF until Tunisia apologized. He has to lose the position he had held since 2013 by being banned for six months for “poor performance” as the consequence of leading the protest at the decision of the referee.
The final decision announced by CAF was Tunisia’s federation must pay the fine and also pay for damage its players caused in a dressing room at the stadium Equatorial Guinea after the quarterfinal clash. It also lost a $3,000 deposit it paid to CAF for the appeal. The Tunisian Football Federation had also appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
However, Tunisia still can make their play in qualifying for the 2017 African Cup which will begin in June.