TUNISIA: The head of a Tunisian football club who pinched an assistant referee on the backside during a match has been banned from the sport for life.
The Tunisian football Federation (FTF) suspended CS Sfaxien President Moncef Khemakhem “from any activity in football” for abusing officials at a championship match last month, it said in a statement Thursday.
It said Khemakhem had “violently assaulted” and bitten an assistant referee then pinched his buttocks in an attempt to influence the match’s outcome.
Khemakhem later boasted on TV that he had twice pinched the assistant referee on the backside during the match against Etoile de Sahel on March 1.
Sfaxien won the game 3-2.
The FTF accused Khemakhem of verbally abusing match officials, “dangerous and unsporting behaviour”, “indecent assault” and “harm to good morals”.
It also fined him $12,900 (12,000 euros), it said.
The FTF statement did not say whether the judgement was open to appeal.
In a video posted on YouTube, Khemakhem can be seen joining players’ protests on the pitch Etoile equalised with a controversial penalty.
After grabbing the referee, the club president heads back to the sideline, raising his thumb at the linesman. He can be seen kissing the official, biting him below the left ear and pinching his cheek.
The next day, Khemakhem appeared on public TV channel Wataniya and declared, smiling, that he had “twice pinched the backside” of the linesman “to cheer him up because he lost the match”.
“We decided to get our rights with our teeth and our fingers,” he added, before concluding: “we have had our gift.”