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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Zaki punished for ref tirade

By James Copnall
BBC Sport, Rabat

Badou Zaki
Badou Zaki faces a season-long suspension if he offends again

The former Morocco coach Badou Zaki has received a suspended ban and a heavy fine for his part in an extraordinary incident in a Moroccan league match.

Zaki, who is the coach of Wydad Casablanca, ran on to the pitch to confront the match referee during a game at the beginning of November.

He was provoked by a series of controversial decisions in the game against league leaders FAR Rabat.

The referee, Abdellah Achiri, gave a debatable free kick from which FAR scored, and also sent off one of the Wydad players.

Zaki's anger sparked a lengthy break in play, as he and his players confronted the referee.

The travelling Wydad fans destroyed seats in the Moulay Abdallah stadium in Rabat to show their anger, forcing the police to intervene.

After the game Zaki accused the referee of repeated bias against him in a fiery TV interview.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has decided to fine Zaki 60,000 dirhams (about US$7000) and give him a suspended ban until the end of the 2008/9 season.

However Zaki will be able to continue his coaching job, as the ban will only come into affect if he commits another offence.

It is one of the heaviest punishments in the history of Moroccan sport.

According to reports, the 1986 African Footballer of the Year is furious with the decision, and is deciding how to respond to it.

The Moroccan sports press heavily criticised the referee after the match, and the case has sparked a public debate about the standard of the country's referees.

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see also
Morocco coach resigns
17 Oct 05 |  African
Raja, Wydad hit with stadium ban
24 Oct 07 |  African

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