JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Zambia coach Herve Renard was fined $10,000 and warned by the Confederation of African Football on Friday after he claimed that the ruling body was happy his team was eliminated from the African Cup of Nations because it was "not sexy enough" to win.
CAF said the fine was suspended and would be lifted "provided no repetition of such behavior occur(s) within the coming year."
Defending champion Zambia was knocked out in the group stage with a 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso, prompting Frenchman Renard to say CAF didn't want his team to win again and represent Africa at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
"To be honest with you I think that CAF is very happy because Zambia is not going to play the Confederations Cup," Renard said in Nelspruit on Jan. 29 after his team's elimination. "Because (they think) Zambia is not sexy enough to go to the Confederations ... it's the truth."
CAF said it had accepted letters of apology from Renard and the Football Association of Zambia, but still issued the warning and suspended fine "in order to ensure the non-repetition of such behavior which tarnishes the image of CAF and its officials."
Zambia, the 2012 champion, missed out on the chance to play at the World Cup warm-up Confederations Cup because CAF moved the Cup of Nations to odd years and played it back to back in 2012 and 2013, meaning this year's winner will go as African champion.
CAF confirmed on Thursday that the winner of Sunday's final, Burkina Faso or Nigeria, would be at June's Confederations Cup and there would be no playoff involving Zambia, ensuring the Zambians never got the chance despite winning an emotional title by beating favorite Ivory Coast in last year's final in Gabon.