Prince Ali: Level of refereeing in football must improve

Published February 4th, 2015 - 02:04 GMT

Fifa presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein says that football's governing body must do more to improve the level of refereeing in the wake of the Equatorial Guinea-Tunisia controversy at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 2015 Afcon descended into chaos during Saturday's quarter-final when, with Tunisia leading 1-0, Mauritian official Seechurn Rajindraparsad awarded a dubious injury-time penalty to the hosts.

Javier Balboa converted it and scored a second goal in extra-time to book Equatorial Guinea's place in the semi-finals.

Incensed by the decision, Tunisian players and staff angrily confronted Seechurn, who needed a police escort, before vandalising their dressing room. The referee has since been suspended for six months and sent home from the Afcon, while Tunisia have also been threatened with a ban from future competitions unless they apologise for accusing the Confederation of African Football (CAF) of bias.

"I have seen [these controversies] in Asia, in Africa, in Europe – I have seen them everywhere," Prince Ali told Goal as he outlined his vision to change and reform Fifa if he is elected president this year.

"Referees are human beings as well, but we need to improve the level of refereeing.

"We also have to be very concerned about the possibility of any match-fixing or match manipulation. This is an important issue for me."

Tunisia coach Georges Leesken described Seechurn's penalty decision as the worst he had seen in his 45 years in football, while Wadie Jary, the head of the Tunisian federation, resigned from the Afcon's organising committee in protest.

The Tunisians were also fined €44,000 for the "insolent, aggressive and unacceptable" behaviour of their players, and ordered to pay for the damage to the dressing room.

Equatorial Guinea face Ghana on Thursday in the Afcon semi-finals.

By Carlo Garganese

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