Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Ethiopia is called off after referee collapses

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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 away on a stretcher … with the fourth official unable to take over as he is Ivorian

  • Referee Charles Bulu collapsed after he appeared to be feeling unwell on Tuesday
  • Players helped the official get to the medical staff before he hit the ground properly
  • He was taken on a stretcher and, according to reports, taken to hospital
  • The conclusion was postponed because the Ivorian fourth official could not take over
  • Ivory Coast and Ethiopia have both qualified for next year’s AFCON final

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

With Ivory Coast leading 3-1 at 80 minutes, footage shows Charles Bulu being helped by players who seemed to be feeling unwell towards the end of the game.

In the clip posted to Twitter, the referee is slowly walked over to the medical staff before closing his eyes and falling to the ground.

Referee Charles Bulu collapsed during Ivory Coast's match against Ethiopia and was taken away

Referee Charles Bulu collapsed during Ivory Coast’s match against Ethiopia and was taken away

The referee struggled to stay late in the game and headed for the tunnel

The referee struggled to stay late in the game and headed for the tunnel

The referee struggled to stay late in the game and headed for the tunnel

Bulu then collapsed on the field before being treated and taken away by medics on a stretcher

Bulu then collapsed on the field before being treated and taken away by medics on a stretcher

Bulu then collapsed on the field before being treated and taken away by medics on a stretcher

Bulu was treated on the field before being taken off on a stretcher, with reports suggesting he had been taken to a local hospital for testing.

The referee was promoted to the top job after the referee who originally got the match tested positive for Covid-19.

However, the fourth official to take Bulu’s place was unable to take the lead for the rest of the match because he is Ivorian – and could be accused of bias towards the hosts.

Medical personnel surrounded the referee as he fell to the ground in the Ivory Coast match

Medical personnel surrounded the referee as he fell to the ground in the Ivory Coast match

Medical personnel surrounded the referee as he fell to the ground in the Ivory Coast match

After deliberation, Kenyan assistant referee Gilbert Cheruiyot stepped in as referee to oversee the final minutes of the match.

With Madagascar playing a 0-0 draw against Niger in the group’s other match, both Ivory Coast and Ethiopia have qualified for the final in January.

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

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