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CAF condemns supporter violence during CAF Champions League matches, vows to investigate

Passionate supporters are a staple of the CAF Champions League, especially when rival North African clubs are involved, but the Confederation of African Football announced its intention to investigate incidents that occurred at two quarterfinal second leg matches on Saturday. A substantial delay during halftime occurred during a 1-1 draw between hosts Espérance ST and Algeria’s JS Kabylie in Tunis as home supporters clashed with security as well as JS Kabylie supporters. More seriously, the clash between Al Ahly and hosts Raja CA in Casablanca saw a Raja supporter die before the match took place.

Raja chairman Aziz El-Badrawi released a statement acknowledging the passing away of a club supporter and extended the club’s condolences towards the supporter, named Noura, and her family. Videos posted on social media showed supporters storming the Stade Mohammed V gates in large groups and climbing the fences. In Tunis there were several videos of clashes between supporters and security as well as objects being thrown onto the Stade Hammadi Agrebi as the Espérance players pleaded with their supporters to stop.

CAF general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba announced that the footballing body will carry out investigations into the incidents and punish clubs for any wrongdoing. It looks very likely at this point that Espérance will be forced at a minimum to play their next home match behind closed doors after the Tunisian champions advanced to the semifinals to compete against Al Ahly. Raja were eliminated by Al Ahly but any punishment handed down to Raja will impact future CAF club competition matches the Moroccan club participates in.

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