CAF Suspends Referee After Disputed Champions League Final

Confederation of African Football (CAF) have suspended Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charef after some controversial calls in the CAF Champions League final, first leg between Al Ahly and Esperance in Alexandria early this month.

Charef becomes the latest high-profile referee to be charged with corruption by the continental governing body.

This comes after his fellow 2018 FIFA World Cup referee Sikazwe was also suspended for similar reasons but after handling another CAF Champions League match.

Al Ahly won the ill-tempered tie 3-1 as Charef had an eventful evening, awarding three penalties, two for Al-Ahly and one for Esperance.

The statement from the CAF Disciplinary Board read, “The CAF Disciplinary Board has decided that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing regarding allegations of corruption against Mr. Mehdi Abid Charef,”

“Mr. Mehdi Abid Charef is provisionally suspended from all football activities related to CAF pending a disciplinary hearing.”

During the match, Charef missed two incidences involving Al Ahly’s Moroccan striker Walid Azarou who first punched an Esperance player, before tearing his shirt in a bid to justify being fouled.

Following video footage review, CAF subsequently suspended Azarou from taking part in the return leg.

After the match, the Tunisian Football Federation, on behalf of Esperance, reported Charef to CAF.