Fifa President Sepp Blatter has claimed the crowd trouble during the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-final match between hosts Equatorial Guinea and Ghana was blown out of proportion by the media.
Play was suspended for more than 30 minutes as bottles were hauled at players and supporters. Ghana supporters sought safety behind a goal. Riot police used tear gas and helicopter hovered over the stadium to scare off trouble makers.
“I don’t see the negative side of African football that the media presents,” Blatter said.
Equatorial Guinea were fined £65,000 for the violence that overshadowed the match at the Malabo Stadium.
President of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), Issa Hayatou, said: “The press always dramatise, particularly the western press.”
Hayatou added: “When something bad happens in Europe, they say it’s an error. When something happens in Africa, they begin talking about corruption.
“The western media are simply here to perpetuate colonization.”
Ghana claimed victory courtesy of goals by Jordan Ayew, Mubarak Wakasso and Andre Ayew. The Black Stars will face Cote d’Ivoire in Sunday’s final in Bata.
Equatorial Guinea only stepped in as replacement hosts in November after Morocco had called for postponement of the tournament over fears of the Ebola outbreak in some part of the continent. There were many concerns about preparation and security before the start of the 30th edition of Africa’s biggest football competition.
The police eventually restored order at the stadium and, once the pitch was cleared of objects, play resumed and lasted for just three minutes.
Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang blamed the “childish behaviours” of fans for the crowd disturbance, saying it was caused by “enemies of progress and peace” who had organised violent demonstrations in the stadium.
Blatter added: “The media can play a role, must play a role, but they must play a role where the notions of respect and fair play are basics.
“Today the world opens the newspaper, watches television and sees only murder and killing. We never talk about princesses marrying anymore.”