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Football
Senegal appeal for leniency
Football federation fear heavy punishment after crowd trouble in qualifier results in Africa Cup disqualification.
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2012 16:54
The second-leg qualifier in Dakar was abandoned with about 14 minutes left after Ivory Coast players and fans were subjected to a hail of missiles from Senegalese fans [Reuters]

Senegal on Wednesday urged the Confederation of African Football not to impose a heavy punishment in the wake of the crowd trouble which blighted their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Ivory Coast.

The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) is in the dock as a result of the violence that forced their game against the Ivoirians to be stopped on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Senegal were formally disqualified from the 2013 Nations Cup after CAF awarded the game in Dakar to Didier Drogba's team as a 2-0 win.

That was the score at the time the qualifier had to be called off as Ivory Coast players and fans were subjected to a hail of stones, bottles and chairs with fires lit in the stands and firecrackers thrown.

Further punishment

FSF president Augustin Senghor, in an interview with AFP, said: "On the sporting side of things, it (disqualification) doesn't change much because at the time the game was stopped we were being led 2-0, and that's the score which has been confirmed by CAF.

"We must simply accept this sanction with a great deal of serenity and humility."

But with further punishment expected Senghor added: "It's obvious that behind (the disqualification) there will follow the decision on a punishment.

"We have fears about this for a number of reasons and we simply hope that CAF will take into account the context (of the violence) and that the Senegalese Football Federation will not receive a heavy sanction."

Senghor said that the FSF was in the process of preparing a dossier explaining what exactly happened in Dakar and "to show that we don't want to mislead officials, fans nor the opposition team".

He added: "There was trouble which we are trying to put into context because it's true, there was perhaps a little unhappiness amongst fans following two decisions (a free kick and penalty) taken by the referee.

"But on top of that we have the feeling that there were some in the stadium who were prepared in some way to exasperate this mood which made Senegal suffer.

"We believe that these circumstances allow us to hope that CAF will show a certain amount of understanding.

"In any event, that's what we hope for. And it's what we wish for."

If their appeal for clemency falls on deaf ears at CAF's headquarters in Cairo Senghor insisted that whatever punishment was meted out to them would still be accepted "with a great deal of serenity".

Trouble flared at the 60,000-capacity stadium after a penalty converted by Ivory Coast captain Drogba 15 minutes from time gave the top-ranked African nation a 2-0 lead.

China-based Drogba also scored the opener from a powerfully struck free-kick soon after half-time.

After a 40-minute delay while security officials battled to restore calm, the match was abandoned.

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Source:
AFP
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