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Wydad Morocco Drag CAF To CAS Over Champions League Title Awarded To Esperance

Wydad Morocco Drag CAF To CAS Over Champions League Title Awarded To Esperance

Wydad Athletic of Morocco have said they will appeal against the decision of CAF Appeal Board to uphold its Disciplinary Committee’s decision – affirming Esperance of Tunisia as winners of the 2019 CAF Champions League following their petition that the game’s critical moment was not decided by VAR, Completesports.com reports.

On Sunday Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Appeal Board, ruled that Tunisia’s Esperance won the title on 31 May.

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Wydad President Said Naciri confirmed on Monday, after he was reelected President of the Moroccan Football League, that they would go to CAS as permitted by the CAF statutes.

“We will defend our rights until the end,” Naciri said.

“For two months we have been fighting this “oppression”. Esperance don’t deserve to win the cup in the way we witnessed in Rades.

“Our next step is to take the case back to CAS to seek fairness.”

In the second leg, Walid El Karti’s header for Wydad was disallowed for an infringement.

Both sides then lodged complaints with CAS following an initial ruling from CAF that the second leg should be replayed.

The court’s first ruling in August said that CAF’s executive committee “did not have jurisdiction” to order that the final be replayed.

Following that decision from CAS, the disciplinary committee at CAF ruled Esperance to be the winners of the 2019 Champions League.

Wydad then lodged a further case with CAF and its Appeal Board, which on 15 September rejected the Moroccan club’s request.

“…The Board underlined the fact that the absence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has no legal effects whatsoever and that its sole purpose is to aid the referee to take the correct decision…,” the CAF Appeal Board statement explained.

“That the referee is vested with the power to have the final decision on the field of play since the start of the game, and that his decision is not up to review by the Appeal Board.

“The match officials’ reports were very clear that the Wydad Athletic Club’s players refused to resume the match even after several attempts conducted by the referee, to the point that the referee waited almost 90 minutes before he whistled the end of the match.

“The Appeal Board has noted that the stoppage of almost 90 minutes 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 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.”

The Appeal Board added that according to CAF’s own statutes, a case would be allowed to be lodged directly with CAS before 25 September 2019, a provision Wydad Athletic are now trying to exploit.

By Sab Osuji

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