By Kunle Adedoyin
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday overruled an African Football Confederation (CAF) decision to replay the abandoned Champions League final between Esperance of Tunisia and Wydad Casablanca of Morroco.
CAF had last month ordered the second leg to be replayed at a neutral venue after the Africa Cup of Nations following the decision of the Moroccan side to walk off the pitch an hour into the return fixture in Tunis when a VAR malfunction meant a disallowed equaliser could not be reviewed.
Tunisia’s Esperance, who led 2-1 overall at the time, were initially handed the title, but CAF later backtracked after determining that “playing and security conditions were not met”.
Both clubs subsequently lodged appeals with CAS.
But CAS on Wednesday ruled that the Executive Committee of CAF “did not have jurisdiction” to order that the game be replayed.
CAS said it was now up to “competent CAF authorities”, without giving further details, to “order the appropriate disciplinary sanctions, if any, and accordingly to decide whether the second leg… shall be replayed or not”.
Requests by Wydad to be named champions and granted the winners’ paycheck were rejected, with CAS adding that Esperance’s appeal would be investigated at a later date.
The on-field fiasco prompted CAF to reduce both the Champions League and Confederation Cup finals from two legs to one match at a neutral venue from next season.