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FIFA World Cup

Morocco player appeals ban

GENEVA -- Morocco defender Abderrahim Achchakir is challenging his one-year FIFA ban for assaulting a referee during a World Cup qualifying match.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday it scheduled the appeal hearing on Nov. 5.

Achchakir confronted Angolan referee Helder Martins de Carvalho and was sent off after Tanzania scored its third goal in a 3-1 victory against Morocco in Dar Es Salaam in March.

FIFA said it sanctioned Achchakir for "misconduct against match officials." Its disciplinary code requires bans of at least six months for assaults such as "elbowing, punching, kicking."

"The suspension covers all types of matches regardless of whether they are of national, international, friendly or official nature," FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA also ordered Achchakir to pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($11,000).

The 26-year-old FAR Rabat player's ban runs through May 13, and currently forces him to miss the start of his club's 2014 African Champions League program.

Morocco was eliminated in a World Cup qualifying group won by Ivory Coast.

In a television interview in May, Achchakir questioned if the verdict was fair.

"The decision taken by FIFA is not justified and I did not do anything in order to receive the punishment from FIFA," he said. "God willing, the decision will be abolished on appeal."

Video footage of the match shows Achchakir running toward the referee as Tanzania players celebrated its third goal. In the build-up, the defender fell claiming he had been fouled.

Achchakir also appeared to make an offensive hand gesture toward Tanzania fans as he was led away by team officials into the stadium tunnel.


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