I don’t normally write much about soccer, but safe to say I do watch a lot. Mostly it is the Premier League, but right now the AFCON tournament is underway, and so I am catching the highlights each day. Of note was the Mali v Tunisia game today, in which the referee inexplicably ended the game roughly 5 minutes early, in the 85th minute. He quickly realized his mistake and restarted the game, but then blew his whistle around 89:40 to end the game, 20 seconds before the 90, and well before and stoppage time.
Obviously, the teams were very concerned about the apparent breach of rules. Both sides left the field as the game was over, only to be told much later in the dressing rooms that the game would continue. Tunisia refused to come out and play, citing the fact that many of its players were already taking ice baths.
Not a good look for AFCON, but hopefully there will be some explanations for a real deviation from protocol. Here is a good article explaining what happened in detail.