Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey has been banned for life by world football governing body FIFA for what it calls “match manipulation’’.
The ban results from a penalty kick he awarded to South Africa in a 2-1 win over Senegal in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in November.
He penalised Kalidou Koulibaly for handball, but replays showed the ball hit his knee.
FIFA said it would give more details “once the decision becomes final and binding”.
Lamptey can now appeal to FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
One of his assistants, David Laryea, also from Ghana, had charges against him dismissed by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.
The win for South Africa left them in second place in the four-team group after two matches, with Senegal in third.
Lamptey, who also officiated at the Rio Olympics last year, in a reaction to the decision said he would comment later.
The Senegal Football Federation (FSF), who made a complaint to FIFA over Lamptey, is happy with the decision.
“Today there are many reasons to be happy about this decision — a decision that will be remembered as being significant but will also warn everybody that they are being watched,” FSF vice-president Abdoulaye Sow said.
“All cheating and stealing will be punished according to its gravity.
“FIFA has clearly struck a big blow and has promised in its decision to talk again about the match when the decision is final and binding.’’