Referee suspended and claims of match fixing after fans riot in Tunisia derby match

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Tunisian policemen stand guard as fans throw flares during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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Tunisia's Club Africain fans cheer during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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A Tunisian policeman removes a flare from the pitch at the end of the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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Tunisia's Club Africain fans light flares and cheer during the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
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A policeman walks past rubbish on the ground following the Tunisia Ligue 1 football match derby between Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain at the Stade Olympique of Rades in Tunis (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018
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Referee suspended and claims of match fixing after fans riot in Tunisia derby match

TUNIS: After a riot sparked by a contested penalty and a flurry of red cards left 19 police officers hospitalized, Etoile Sahel said Sunday they were ready to go to court over their 3-2 defeat by bitter rivals Esperance.
Thirty-eight police officers were injured when they were pelted by smoke bombs, stones, chairs and pieces of metal at Thursday’s Tunisian league match in Rades, on the outskirts of Tunis.
The local football authorities also suspended the match referee Karim Khemiri until the end of the season, citing serious mistakes.
Etoile said on their website they “suspect match fixing in the match against Esperance,” and will be handing a dossier of information to government officials.
The penalty award came late in the second half with Etoile leading 2-1 and there were three red cards in the final 10 minutes.
Esperance will play their next three games behind closed doors after dangerous levels of smoke bombs and running battles on the terraces saw the match twice interrupted.
After this weekend’s games Esperance lead the Tunisian league on 44 points with Etoile in third on 36.
The visitors have been ordered to pay compensation for damage caused to the stadium, a venue often used to stage national team matches.
Football in Tunisia is regularly plagued by violence especially when the country’s top clubs clash.
In recent years, violence has escalated so much that sports minister Majdouline Cherni described the outbreaks as “stadium terrorism.”


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”