Ivory Coast's AFCON qualifier is called off after referee COLLAPSES

Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Ethiopia is called off with 10 minutes to play after the referee COLLAPSED and was carried off on a stretcher… with fourth official unable to take over because he is Ivorian

  • Referee Charles Bulu collapsed after appearing to feel unwell in Tuesday’s game
  • Players helped the official towards medical staff before he well to the ground 
  • He was taken off on a stretcher and reports suggest he was driven to hospital
  • The conclusion was delayed because the Ivorian fourth official couldn’t take over
  • Ivory Coast and Ethiopia have both qualified for next year’s AFCON finals 

Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Ethiopia descended into chaos on Tuesday afternoon when the referee collapsed on the pitch.

With Ivory Coast leading 3-1 after 80 minutes, footage shows Charles Bulu being helped by players having seemingly felt unwell towards the end of the game.

In the clip posted on Twitter, the ref is seen being slowly walked towards medical staff before closing his eyes and falling to the ground.

Referee Charles Bulu collapsed in the Ivory Coast’s game with Ethiopia and was carried off

The official struggled to stand late on in the game and walked towards the tunnel 

Bulu then collapsed on the pitch before being treated and carried off by medics on a stretcher

Bulu was treated on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher, with reports suggesting he was taken to a local hospital for tests.

The official was promoted to the top job after the referee who was originally given the game tested positive for Covid-19. 

However, the fourth official who took Bulu’s place was unable to take charge for the remainder of the match because he is Ivorian – and could have been accused of bias towards the hosts.

After discussions, Kenyan assistant referee Gilbert Cheruiyot filled in as referee to oversee the final few minutes of the match. 

With Madagascar having played out a 0-0 draw with Niger in the group’s other game, both Ivory Coast and Ethiopia have qualified for the finals next January.

Goals from Wolves defender Willy Boly, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Jean Kouassi sealed victory for the hosts, who also had Tottenham’s Serge Aurier and Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha in action.

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