Tunisian club kicked out of top challenge

Tunisian club kicked out of top challenge

CAIRO - Reuters
Tunisian club kicked out of top challenge

A police officer lies on the pitch after clashes with Etoile Sahel fans. REUTERS photo

Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel was kicked out of the African Champions League yesterday after rioting fans caused the abandonment of a group-stage match against compatriots Esperance this month.

The Aug. 18 game in Sousse was called off in the 69th minute after home fans invaded the pitch while others threw missiles including stones, bottles and firecrackers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said in a statement. It is the first time a club has been expelled in the middle of the group stage.
Etoile fans swarmed on to the pitch after bitter rival Esperance had taken a 2-0 lead.

Some supporters went on to the playing surface just before halftime when Esperance scored its first goal but they were quickly removed by security officials.

Tunisian football has largely been played behind closed doors since the revolution in the country last year, mainly due to fear of crowd violence.

A go-ahead for spectators to be allowed back to the grounds was recently granted at the behest of the financially-strained clubs.

Since the pitch invasion in Sousse, Tunisia’s sports ministry has again banned fans until the end of the season next month.