CAF Appeals Board Upholds Esperance’s 2018/19 Champions League Title

CAF Appeals Board Upholds Esperance’s 2018/19 Champions League Title

The Appeals Board of CAF headed by Nigeria’s Abdulhakeem Mustapha has finally confirmed Esperance of Tunisia as winners of the 2018/2019 CAF Champions League title, Completesports.com reports.

Rising from its exhaustive sitting Sunday in Cairo, Egypt, where it sat to take jurisdiction on the 93-page documents following Wydad of Morocco appeal in the aftermath of the controversy that marred the May 31 CCL final in Races, Tunis, the Appeals Board upheld earlier decision of the Disciplinary Committee which found Wydad guilty of match abandonment.

The Appeals Board which also comprised of
Somalia’s Ali Mohamed Ahmed and Chitbahal Mustapha Bhai of Mauritius rejected the appeal of Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca, against the August 7 ruling of the body’s Disciplinary Committee, which originally declared Esperance champions.

In its ruling, the Appeals Board – as did the Disciplinary Committee (DC) before them – noted that “the stoppage of almost 90 minutes [of the May 31 final at Rades] was due to the Wydad Athletic Club’s players’ failure to resume the match.

“The players were then instructed to resume play by the referee who has seen his attempts fail to no avail…

“Therefore the Appeal Board confirms that the match was forfeited by Wydad Athletic Club because their players refused to resume the match”.

CAF’s Disciplinary Committee, led by former South African FA CEO Raymond Hack, originally awarded the title to Esperance based on the application of Paragraph 17 Section 11 of CAF’s Champions League rules.

“If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match – except in case of force Majeure accepted by the Organising Committee or if it 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”.

In line with Article 48 Paragraph 3 of the CAF Statutes, Wydad reserves the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), against Sunday’s decision.

Similarly, Wydad must communicate to Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS, its statement of appeal not later than September 25, which is within 10 days of receipt of notification of Sunday’s decision.

Esperance, as African champions, will feature in the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup which holds in Qatar from 11 to 21 December 2019.

By Sab Osuji

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