Caf reverts to two-legged Champions League semi-finals

Caf Champions League trophy
The withdrawal of Cameroon from hosting the Last Four has seen the continental football governing body return to their original plans

Caf has proposed October 16 or 17 as a date for the 2019/20 Champions League final and also abandoned plans for single-legged semi-finals.

Two Moroccan sides and two Egyptian teams are in the Last Four which will see Wydad Casablanca take on Al Ahly, while Zamalek have to play Raja Casablanca.

Initially, the semi-finals had been scheduled on a home and away basis, before arrangements for single matches that were due to be staged in Cameroon.

But Cameroon then pulled out from hosting, citing weather concerns and the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Caf to revert to two-legged semis.

“Following the withdrawal of Cameroon Football Federation from hosting the final four, and in line with the principle of fairness, it was decided against hosting a final four in either Egypt or Morocco, whose representatives constitute the semi-finalists,” said Caf in a statement.

Raja and Wydad will now host their Egyptian opponents in first leg matches on September 25 or 26, before Al Ahly and Zamalek welcome the Moroccans for return fixtures slated for October 2 or 3.

If the final is all-Egyptian or all-Moroccan, it would be played in the country of the teams involved.

The Egyptian Football Association and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation have since been asked by Caf to confirm their availability by August 15.

But a neutral venue has been proposed if the final features an Egyptian and a Moroccan team for “the principle of fairness,” as Caf maintains a one-legged title decider.

“Consequently, the bidding process has been opened to Member Associations excluding Egypt and Morocco for the hosting of a one-off final,” Caf said.

“Interested Member Associations are to submit their bidding file including the venue for the match and the mandatory Government guarantee no later than 17 August 2020.”

Caf says they are consulting various stakeholders to see if the semis and final could be played inside empty stadiums or with fans in attendance.

Meanwhile, the remaining Caf Confederation Cup matches would take place behind closed doors and are still scheduled to be staged in Morocco and would be one-legged.

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In the semis slated for September 22, Egyptian side Pyramids face Guinea’s Horoya who are the only sub-Saharan side remaining in the competition.

An all-Moroccan clash is on the cards in the other semi-final match featuring RB Berkane and Hassania Agadir on the same day.

Rabat’s Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium will host the final on September 27.