CAF President Ahmad has told Insideworldfootball that he is prepared to defend, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the decision of his organisation’s Executive Committee to order a replay of the second leg of the Champions League final between Tunisia’s Esperance and Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club (WAC).
The replay of the second leg final was ordered on the grounds that “the conditions of game and safety were not met during the 2nd leg… preventing the game from coming to an end.”
The May 31 game was the first time in the 55-year history of Africa’s top club competition that a final was declared abandoned.
Gambian referee Papa Bakary Gassama ended the match after play did not go on for over one hour, following WAC’s refusal to continue, after a 55th minute goal was disallowed for offside.
“We thought that the matter could be resolved in a family way. But since both parties have decided to go to CAS, CAF is ready to go there. If necessary, I am ready to appear in person,” Ahmad told this reporter on Monday.
CAF’s executive committee decision of June 5, in Paris, was in contravention of Paragraph 17 Section 11 of its own Champions League rules which state that if a club “refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the permission of the referee, it shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition.”
Both Esperance and Wydad are rejecting the Paris decision and have asked for the 2019 title to be awarded to them.
Wydad Athletic Club, in its application to CAS, demands that CAF’s Paris decision be set aside and declared winners of the Champions League.
Espérance demands that CAF’s decision, as first taken in Tunisia, should be restored, based on the Champions League rules stated earlier in this report.
Both clubs, as well as CAF, have agreed on the dates and procedures for the CAS hearing, with a decisive verdict expected on July 31.
Contact the writer of this story, Osasu Obayiuwana, at moc.llabtoofdlrowedisni@ofni