Wydad Casablanca to challenge CAF’s Champions League decision

Wydad Casablanca to challenge CAF’s Champions League decision
Wydad Casablanca players protest during the 2018/19 CAF Champions league final.

by Mark Gleeson

Thursday Aug 08, 2019. 14:00

Wydad Casablanca have wasted no time in announcing their intention to challenge Wednesday’s decision to award the African Champions League to Esperance of Tunisia.

WAC president Said Naciri says they would appeal the verdict of the Confederation of African Football’s disciplinary committee, who on Wednesday ruled Esperance winners of the disputed final.

The CAF regulations allow the Moroccans the right to appeal and Naciri said straight away he would lodge papers, although was not clear on what grounds.

Wydad already submitted two separate arguments to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) last week when they asked the Swiss-based body to either award them the title outright or order that the two legs of the final be annulled and a single replay be ordered.

CAS rejected both Wydad’s positions last week when it ordered CAF to re-hear the matter.

CAF had originally awarded the game to Esperance after Wydad refused to play on after having a 59th minute strike in the second leg in Tunis ruled offside. The absence of VAR, which was faulty, led to vehement protests and a stubborn refusal by the Moroccans to continue.

After a two-hour delay, Esperance were handed the trophy while Wydad refused to accept their silver medals.

But five days after the final, the CAF executive committee made an extraordinary decision to order a replay of the final on neutral territory citing “security concerns”.

It was a decision greeted with much derision as critics accused the exco of pandering to the heavy Moroccan influence with CAF’s power structures.

Both clubs immediately turned to CAS for relief. It annulled the decision of CAF’s executive committee, saying it should rather be dealt with by the “competent committee”.

The DC took a week to convene and sat in Cairo on Wednesday, quickly coming to a verdict.

It decided:

*”The Wydad Athletic Club is considered to have lost the game in the final second leg, a fine of $50,000 is imposed on the club for the abandonment of the match and a fine of $15,000 is imposed for the use of flares by the supporters.

*“Mohamed Meddeb, President of Esperance, has been fined $20,000 as well as receiving a warning for his unsporting behavior toward the President of CAF.

*”Esperance fined $50,000 USD for the use of smoke and projectiles and the unsporting behavior of their supporters. Esperance will play their next two home interclub matches behind closed doors for the excessive use of smoke and firecrackers. However the Disciplinary Board has decided to suspend the sanction in question provided that the club is not found guilty of a similar offence for the next 12 months.

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