CAF Champions League: Esperance reinstated as 2018-19 title winners
In Africa, mixed reactions from football fans have greeted the reinstatement of Esperance as the CAF Champions League winners following their controversial final against Morocco's Wydad Casablanca. The CAF disciplinary committee upheld the Tunisian's clubs win despite a chaotic second leg that saw the opposition players walk off over a disallowed goal. Adel EL Mahrouky now reports on the scandal that has shamed African football.
CAF has affirmed that Tunisian club Esperance is the Continental Champions. Morocco's Wydad has been fined 20,000 dollars for abandoning the final's second leg and 15 thousand for Fans' use of flares. The 2019 Champions too were not spared punishment either. The African confederation is making them pay 70 thousand dollars for fans' excessive use of fireworks and for their President's unsporting behavior.
HADY EL MIDANY YALLAKORA SPORTS EDITOR "According to how the events unfolded, I believe CAF's decisions are appropriate. No regulations in football state that VAR errors allows a rematch or permits for abandoning a game. Ahmad Ahmad was nearly assaulted; it's why the executive committee intervened. I believe all procedures were correct."
That doesn't, however, make the decisions any less controversial. Using VAR in CAF clubs' competitions has so far sparked more disputes than resolving them.
Last May during the second leg of the CAF Champions League final, the referee disallowed a goal for the Moroccan champions. When resorting to VAR for a confirmation, the technology failed to work. Tension sparked and the referee ended the game on the 55th minute, giving Esperance their second title.
HADY EL MIDANY YALLAKORA SPORTS EDITOR "Africa was already irritated by the current status of African football, the decision will definitely irritate more clubs, even those not involved. CAF is repeating VAR mistakes, it's not the first time we see VAR equipment failing to work. More strange to happen in the same club and the same stadium. Is it on purpose? It puzzles me."
ADEL EL MAHROUKY CAIRO "CAF's disciplinary committee's decision about the Champions League title match is final. The clubs cannot appeal to CAF anymore. That, however, won't end the controversy. Wydad Casablanca could once again resort to the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Adel EL Mahrouky, CGTN, CA."