Further inadequacies in the Confederation of African Football, CAF, has further emerged as the Disciplinary Committee headed by South Africa’s Raymond Hack has overturned an earlier decision of CAF president, Ahmad’s headed Emergency Committee regarding the stalemated CAF Champions League second leg match of last May.
While the match, as well as the trophy, was awarded to host team, Esperance of Tunisia following the decision of the visiting Wydad Casablanca of Morocco to discontinue the match over a disputed goal, CAF Emergency Committee held a meeting in Paris few days later and ordered a replay.
Both contesting clubs headed for Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS) to press for award of the match rather than a rematch, CAS upheld the appeal of Esperance and duly awarded it the championship – a direct overturn of CAF decision.
CAF declared it would study the decision, an action its disciplinary committee has taken and lined behind the CAS decision.
It went further to impose a fine of $20,000 on Wydad for abandoning the match and a further $15,000 for the use of flares by supporters.
Esperance on the other hand were handed a $50,000 fine for use of flares and the throwing of projectiles by their supporters during the game in Tunis on May 31.
The teams had drawn 1-1 in the first leg of the final in Casablanca and Esperance were 1-0 up in the return match when Wydad netted what they thought was a 59th-minute equaliser.
The referee ruled it out for offside, however, and turned down animated appeals from the Wydad players to consult the VAR because the system was not working.
Wydad refused to play on and the argument continued on the pitch between the teams and officials for some two hours before the game was called off and Esperance were awarded the trophy.
Five days later, CAF’s executive committee said the second leg must be replayed on neutral territory.
Esperance appealed to CAS to be reinstated as champions after Wydad’s walk-off, while the Moroccans argued they should be declared winners or that both legs of the final be annulled and a single replay ordered.
CAS rejected Wydad’s argument, but said the question of whether the match would be replayed would need to be considered by the appropriate CAF body — the disciplinary committee.
Wednesday’s decision is an embarrassing outcome for the beleaguered CAF executive committee, which was unanimous in ordering a replay in what critics said was pandering to the strong Moroccan influence on the organisation.
The running of CAF was taken over last week by FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura amid allegations of corruption.
Esperance will now play in the Club World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.
They are also only the third club to retain the continent’s top club prize, having won it in 2018.