Cairo - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has rejected an appeal by Tunisia against a $50 000 fine for violent conduct by its players at the African Cup of Nations, the continental soccer body has said on Tuesday.
However, CAF did not ban the North African country from the next edition of the tournament — as it had threatened to do — after the Tunisian Football Federation made a "a formal apology" for accusing CAF of being biased against it.
The case related to an African Cup quarterfinal match on January 31, when a disputed penalty in the last minute of normal time helped host Equatorial Guinea eliminate Tunisia in extra time. Tunisia was leading 1-0 before the penalty changed the game.
Furious Tunisia players aimed punches and kicks at the referee at the end of the game for awarding the spot kick and Tunisian officials accused CAF of bias against it for the contentious decision.
CAF fined Tunisia $50 000 for the behaviour of its players, but also demanded the federation apologise by March 31 for making the accusation of bias.
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CAF heard Tunisia's appeal against the fine in Dakar, Senegal, on March 13, it said, when the Tunisian federation showed "great dignity" and apologized.
"The appeal board noted that during the deliberations, the Tunisian federation began its presentation with a formal apology," CAF said Tuesday in a statement.
Tunisia's federation must pay the $50 000, and also pay for damage its players caused in a dressing room at the stadium in Equatorial Guinea after the quarterfinal match.
However, Tunisia can take part in qualifying for the 2017 African Cup.
The qualifiers begin in June.
Tunisia's Football Federation had also appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but said on Monday it would withdraw that appeal.