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CAF Champions League

Champions League final: Court of Arbitration for Sport invalidates Caf's replay decision

13:58 IST 31/07/2019
Esperance
The Confederation of African Football wanted a replay of the final, but the decision has been dismissed by the international quasi-judicial body

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has ordered the Caf to revisit the question of replaying the Champions League final’s second leg.

An Emergency Executive Committee had ordered to have a replay of the second-leg final clash between Esperance and Wydad Casablanca.

Players of Esperance were ordered to return their medals and trophy for the rematch at a neutral venue on a yet to be determined date – a verdict which did not go well with the Tunisians.

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Esperance took the lead inside Stade Olympique de Rades after 41 minutes through Mohamed Belaili.

However, the game came to a shameful end after the Moroccans walked off the pitch following referee Bakary Gassama's refusal to review Walid El Karti's disallowed strike for Wydad in the 58th minute.

With Wydad failing to continue the game after more than two hours despite the intervention of Caf president Ahmad Ahmad, the Tunisians were crowned as champions.

After few weeks, Caf decided the game be replayed with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed took to social media to air his grievances.

“After the Caf farce: salutation to our army and police, who have been a good example for all the world, and whoever is talking about this should take responsibility for it," he wrote.

"Salutation to ES Tunis fans, they were great at the last game.

"We will not give up on ES Tunis' rights or any Tunisian foundation rights.”

The matter was then referred to Cas, who overruled Caf's decision and asked for the organisation's 'competent bodies' to review the incident and determine if the final should be replayed or not.

“The Caf Executive Committee did not have jurisdiction to order that the second leg of the [May 31st] final be replayed and has decided to annul the decision challenged," Cas wrote in a statement.

“Having annulled the decision of the Caf Executive Committee for formal reasons, it (Cas) has decided to refer to the competent Caf bodies the questions of the replay of the final’s second leg and of the disciplinary procedure, which is currently pending before the Caf and which does not fall within the CAS jurisdiction in the present arbitration procedure.

“It is now for the competent Caf authorities to review the incidents which occurred in the Rades stadium on 31 May 2019, to order the appropriate disciplinary sanctions, if any, and accordingly to decide whether the second leg of the Caf Champions League Final 2018/2019 shall be replayed or not.”