CAS deny Wydad’s appeal, confirm Esperance as 2019 CL winners


The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have confirmed Esperance as the 2018/19 CAF Champions League winners after denying Wydad Casablanca’s appeal.

Esperance were crowned CAF Champions League winners last year after Wydad Casablanca abandoned the game following VAR controversy.

The first leg in Morocco had ended in a 1-1 draw, which meant that Wydad Casablanca needed to win 1-0 or draw by any scoreline that is larger than 1-1 in order to secure the title.

However, it was the hosts who opened the scoring in Rades after Youcef Belaili fired them into the lead in the 41st minute, ending the first-half 1-0 to the Tunisian giants.

Wydad managed to level the aggregate score in the 58th minute when Walid El Karti headed in a cross, but it was ruled out for offside.

Despite the replays showing that El Karti was onside and the goal should have stood, Gambian referee Bakary Gassama didn’t consult the VAR due to technical issues with the system.

The game was halted for over an hour as the Moroccans refused to continue the game unless the VAR was checked, saying that no one informed them before the game that VAR will not be used.

This led to CAF president Ahmed Ahmed to enter the pitch to convince the players to resume play, however, he failed and then the referee blew his whistle to announce Esperance as the CAF Champions League winners.

CAF’s Executive Committee then announced that the second leg of the African final should be replayed between both teams in a neutral ground, the decision was then appealed by the two clubs in Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

And on Saturday, CAS have ruled in favour of Esperance, denying Wydad’s appeal while confirming that the Tunisian giants are the champions for the 2018/19 season.

“The CAS has dismissed the appeal and confirmed the decision of the CAF Appeals Board in full,” CAS said in an official statement.

“Accordingly, Espérance Sportive de Tunis is confirmed as winner of the CAF Champions League 2018/2019.”


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