October 1 – African Champions League winners Esperance have today received their $2.5 million prize money from the Confederation of African Football.
“I can tell you that we just received our prize money this morning,” Hechmi Jilani told Insideworldfootball’s Osasu Obayiuwana.
The Tunis club won this year’s title after Moroccan opponents Wydad Casablanca abandoned the May 31 final game at Rades, in protest against a disallowed goal.
It was a victory that had to be confirmed by CAF’s Disciplinary Committee, following a rather disjointed legal process, in which the Court of Arbitration for Sport compelled the African football governing body to comply with its laid-down judicial process.
With the prize money now paid Esperance can get on with planning and funding their centenary season which will include participation in the Club World Cup in Qatar in December. Esperance will also face Egypt’s Zamalek in the African Super Cup. They have started their domestic league season as well as played in the Arab Champions League in what is becoming a very congested fixture list for the club.
Jilani says that the club’s centenary year made this year’s African title particularly important.
“We may have had a very hard time to the title. But we have managed to get there in the end. It has been a very difficult few months for all of us at this club.
“We really want to move on from what has happened. Despite everything, we have the greatest respect for Wydad, which remains one of the big African clubs. We don’t have any intention to have any bad blood with them. We want cordial relations with them.
“The same thing applies to CAF. We don’t want to be at loggerheads with the body responsible for football in our continent. If we do that, that is not in our interest, because it will diminish the value of the title that we treasure highly,” Jilani said.
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