Supporters of Tunisia's Etoile Sportive du Sahel soccer club run as tear gas is fired during clashes in an African Champions League soccer match against Esperance Sportive de Tunis at the Sousse Olympic stadium (Photo: Reuters)
The Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) hinted Wednesday that Etoile Sahel were unfairly treated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after they were expelled from the CAF Champions League tournament.
Etoile were kicked out of Africa's premier club competition after their fans rioted during a Group A clash against compatriots Esperance in Sousse.
The home fans swarmed the pitch after bitter rivals Esperance had taken a 2-0 lead. Some of them threw missiles onto the pitch, including stones, bottles and firecrackers.
"The federation deems the punishment very harsh, especially that the relevant parties (the federation and Etoile Sahel) were denied the right to defend themselves," the FTF said in a statement.
"We are also surprised because some other clubs were not handed the same punishment although their matches were ruined by violence."
Egyptian giants Zamalek were ordered to play two matches behind closed doors when thousands of their supporters invaded the pitch during a Champions League game against Etoile Sahel in Cairo last year.
Etoile’s expulsion meant Nigeria’s Sunshine Stars will qualify for the semifinals as Group A runners up behind runaway leaders Esperance.
“We will continue to stand by Etoile. We will appeal the sanction,” the FTF added.
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