By Osasu Obayiuwana
September 14 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has made its final conclusion – political and judicial – on the 2019 Champions League – and it is that Esperance Sportive de Tunis remains the Cup holder.
CAF’s Appeals Board, led by Nigerian lawyer Abdulhakeem Mustapha, alongside Somalia’s Ali Mohamed Ahmed and Chitbahal Mustapha Bhai of Mauritius, made the ruling on Sunday in Cairo, after rejecting 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 Committee – 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,” its ruling said.
CAF’s DC, 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.
This states that: “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.
Wydad’s statement of appeal must be sent to CAS by September 25 (which is within 10 days of receipt of notification of Sunday’s decision).
Contact the writer of this story, Osasu Obayiuwana, at moc.l1590955112labto1590955112ofdlr1590955112owedi1590955112sni@o1590955112fni1590955112