Libya requests World Cup replay after discovering referee’s wife is from Tunisia

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The Libyan Football Federation has reportedly demanded that the Football governing body (FIFA) orders a replay of their World Cup qualifier against Tunisia as the Kenyan referee who officiated the game is married to a Tunisian woman. According to a report in the English-language Libya Observer,

“The Libyan Football Federation lodged a request to the sports court of the FIFA asking for a rematch with the Tunisian team as part of the second round of the World Cup qualifiers, as the Kenyan referee was proved to be married to a Tunisian woman and is living in there.” It was gathered that the refereeing of the match, held on 11 November 2016, was controversial, with an early Libyan goal being wrongly disallowed for off-side, the Libyan captain being sent off early in the second half and the Tunisians scoring the winner from the penalty spot. While speaking to journalists after the game, Libya’s coach, Jalal Damja blamed the loss on “poor officiating.” The referee, Davies Omweno who’ s considered the best referee in Kenya and his assistant Berhe O’Michael from Eritrea, were handed three-month suspensions by CAF following the match. According to the CAF referees’ committee, they cited poor performance, wrong positioning, and movement.

They also cited incorrect identification of fouls and failure to administer some disciplinary sanctions as the reasons for Omweno’s suspension. O’Michael was found guilty of poor performance in identifying offside decisions including one that denied Libya a valid goal. This also relates to the similar situation of the 2018 World Cup qualifier clash between South Africa and Senegal after it was manipulated by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey. He has been banned for life with the match expected to be replayed in November.

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