Players and coaches of Tunisian side Esperance have been heavily sanctioned by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) following abusive behaviour in a game last Friday.
The incidents followed the reigning African champions’ Esperance’s 3-1 loss to Egyptian hosts Zamalek in the first leg of their African Champions League quarter-final.
- Six-game ban for defender Khalil Chamam and $40,000 fine “for use of offensive words and spitting on the match officials.”
- Four-game ban for coach Mouine Chaabani and fined $20,000 for “aggressive behaviour and use of offensive words at the match official.”
- Four-game ban for assistant coach Mejdi Traoui and $50,000 fine for the same offences as Chaabani, with Caf adding “threats” to the list.
- Four-game ban for midfielder Abderaouf Benguit and $20,000 fine “for use of offensive language at the match officials.”
There was also a fine of $10,000 handed out to the club for the use of flares by its supporters.
The two teams meet again on Friday (6 March) when the second leg will take place in Tunisia.
Match officials’ report
The report from the match officials also included the details of the abuse they were subjected to as they made their way to their dressing room.
“We got back to our dressing rooms with great difficulty, despite the large number of security people with us, due to members of the Esperance backroom staff waiting for us by our dressing rooms,” the statement continued.
“They started to throw bottles and cigarette ends at us and made offensive remarks towards all four referees.”
The report went even further.
“After the match, the Esperance coach, certain players and senior club officials invaded the pitch and the tunnel as they tried to attack and insult the referees, and one of the club officials even threw a cigarette in a referee’s face.
“They were then not willing to leave the dressing room area and get on their bus after getting dressed. So we had to wait around 45 minutes to leave our dressing room.”
The report also outlined the abuse the officials said they received at the end of the match.
“After the final whistle, and despite the all the best efforts of the security forces to protect us, the end of the match was followed by several incidents,” the statement said.
“Esperance coach Chaabani addressed me in a very aggressive manner and insulted me with hurtful and offensive words, Assistant coach Traoui talked very aggressively to me and began to insult me with hurtful, offensive and threatening words. He even tried to hit me despite the intervention of the police surrounding us.”
“Chamam from Esperance insulted with hurtful and offensive words as well as spitting on me. Benguit insulted us with hurtful and offensive language aimed at the refereeing team.”
Esperance are four-time African champions and, after successes in both 2018 and 2019, bidding to become the first team to be crowned African champions three times in a row.
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