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FIFA’S AXE DANGLES OVER CAMEROON

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BY DAN PALMER

FIFA has revealed that it is investigating the behaviour of Cameroon’s players after they staged an on-pitch protest during their Women’s World Cup last-16 exit to England.

The African sides were beaten 3-0 in a highly controversial clash in Valenciennes on Sunday (June 23) with the team’s actions receiving widespread criticism. 

Cameroon refused to kick-off and instead formed a huddle when the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled that Ellen White’s second goal was onside.

Their anger intensified when VAR disallowed Ajara Nchout’s goal for offside, which would have brought the score back to 2-1.

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Chinese referee Liang Qin has been accused of losing control of the game with Cameroon unfortunate to escape with no red cards as scenes became increasingly ugly.

Yvonne Leuko received just a yellow for an elbow on Nikita Parris and Augustine Ejangue appeared to spit on Toni Duggan.

In stoppage time at the end of the game, Alexandra Takounda only received a yellow card for a nasty challenge on England captain Steph Houghton.

Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa has claimed the match was a “miscarriage of justice” but his team have also been criticised by African’s leading women’s football official Isha Johansen.

She said the game “reflected badly not only on African women’s football but African football on the whole”.

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The Sierra Leone official, who sits on the Confederation of African Football Board, said: “It is an issue which will be addressed and dealt with at the appropriate levels of governance.”

FIFA told BBC Sport they were “looking into” the match and added: “Further updates will be provided in due course.”

Djeumfa accused the officials of “making a lot of mistakes” but denied his team had deliberately stopped playing.

England’s coach Phil Neville said he was “ashamed” by Cameroon’s behaviour. 

The match was viewed by a record audience of 6.9 million people in the United Kingdom.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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