Ref row forces Tunisian FA to reschedule Super Cup in Qatar

By Paul Nicholson

February 21 – The Tunisian Football Federation has postponed its Super Cup, played between the winners of the Tunisian league and the Tunisian Cup, and which was being hosted after a gap of 18 years in Qatar after a row broke out between clubs over the selection of match officials.

Qatar, which has increasingly become a hub for high profile fixtures and training camps (more than half the teams at the recently completed Asian Cup held training camps in the country) was to host the game between Espérance Sportive de Tunis and Club Africain this Sunday.

Club Africain raised an issue over a match official appointed by the Tunisian federation which could not be resolved, forcing the game to be postponed.

The Tunisians have disingenuously tweeted that the game was postponed at the request of the Qatar FA due to organisational issues, but the reality is that the Tunisians were unable to resolve the dispute over their selection of the match official to get the teams to play. The match was being co-ordinated by a third-party agency, Oravi World.

Qatar has a long history of staging one-off matches and the Tunisian game was never likely to challenge their organisational apparatus. They also have a strong history of being able to facilitate matches at short notice and even staged the FIFA U-20 World Cup as far back as 1995 at three weeks’ notice after FIFA pulled the event from Nigeria after a cholera outbreak. Really fault appears to lie with the Tunisian FA and their agents.

The match now looks like to be rescheduled for March in Qatar with the suggestion that this time round the organisation will be done jointly by the Tunisian FA and the Qatar FA.

The Tunisian Super Cup was last played in 2001 when Espérance beat Club Sportif de Hammam-Lif 3-1.

Espérance, as winners of the CAF Champions League, are already scheduled to be in Qatar for the CAF Super Cup – the first time it has been played outside the African continent – when they will face Raja Casablanca, winners of the CAF Confederation Cup, on March 29

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