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AFCON 2023: Morocco boss Walid Regragui cleared to return after Caf lift ban

AFCON 2023: Morocco boss Walid Regragui cleared to return after Caf lift ban
Morocco's head coach Walid Regragui stands at his bench prior the African Cup of Nations   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


Walid Regragui has had his suspension lifted, clearing the Morocco coach to return for the team's Africa Cup of Nations last 16 game against South Africa on Tuesday.

The Confederation of African Football said Sunday it had partially upheld the appeal filed by the Moroccan federation against Regragui's four-game ban — with two suspended — for his part in the heated scenes at the end of the team's match against Congo the week before.

CAF's appeal board said it was setting aside the suspension and a fine of $5,000 imposed on Regragui. It confirmed the fines of $20,000 each on the soccer federations of Morocco and Congo, plus the $10,000 fine on the Moroccan federation "for the use of smoke bombs by its supporters during the match," with half the amount suspended.

The Moroccan federation had argued it was an "unjust decision" to ban Regragui because the coach "did not commit any behavior that violates the spirit of sportsmanship."

Regragui sat out Morocco's final group game as the Atlas Lions defeated Zambia 1-0 in the first game after his suspension.

Regragui and Congo captain Chancel Mbemba had a heated exchange after their teams' match ended 1-1 in San Pedro on Jan. 21. It led to a melee between players and officials from both teams that continued as they went down the players' tunnel.

Mbemba implied to journalists after the game that Regragui insulted him, but the Morocco coach on Tuesday denied making any racist comments.

Mbemba's Instagram account was subjected to a stream of racist abuse, while Regragui said he received death threats in the fallout.

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