Morocco coach Regragui banned for four games with two suspended, federation says
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Morocco coach Walid Regragui was given a four-game ban — with two suspended — on Wednesday in response to heated scenes Sunday at the end of the team’s Africa Cup of Nations game against Congo.
The Confederation of African Football also imposed fines of $20,000 each on the soccer federations of Morocco and Congo, plus $5,000 on Regragui.
CAF's statement also said it fined the Moroccan federation an additional $10,000 “for the use of smoke bombs by its supporters during the match,” with half the amount suspended.
The Moroccan federation said it will appeal CAF’s “unjust decision” to ban Regragui because the coach "did not commit any behavior that violates the spirit of sportsmanship.”
Regragui watched from the stands as Morocco beat Zambia 1-0 in their final group game late Wednesday.
Regragui and Congo captain Chancel Mbemba had a heated exchange after their team's match ended 1-1 in San Pedro on Sunday. It led to a melee between players and officials from both teams that continued as they went down the players’ tunnel.
Mbemba implied to journalists after the game that Regragui insulted him, but the Morocco coach on Tuesday denied making any racist comments.
Mbemba’s Instagram account was subjected to a stream of racist abuse, while Regragui said he received death threats in the fallout.
TV replays showed Regragui seeking Mbemba after the game when the player was on his knees giving thanks in a personal moment. Mbemba took Regragui’s hand and clapped him on the back. But Regragui kept hold of Mbemba’s hand and carried on talking. He appeared to be saying, “Look at me.” The player angrily pulled his hand away and gestured for the video referee before players from both sides jumped in.
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