Esperance players enjoying moments after being crowned CAF Champions League winners last friday. The second leg of the final will have to be replayed .

The final of Confederation of African Football (CAF) club Champions League will have to be replayed after the second leg of the fixture between Tunisian club Esperance and Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca was abandoned by the latter.

Tunisia’s Esperance club had already been crowned the champions of Africa but the players have been ordered to return the African Champions League medals and trophy and to replay the second leg of the final.

The original fixture was abandoned and the match was awarded to Esperance of Tunisia while Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca left the pitch following a disputed decision.

The verdict to replay the final was announced on Wednesday after an E*******y Executive Committee was called by CAF President Ahmad Ahmad.

[read: Gor’s exit from CAF Confed purely management’s fault ]


Wydad Casablanca refused to play on after having a 59th-minute effort disallowed in the return leg of the final in Tunis last Friday. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system was not working and after a delay of almost two hours the match was awarded to the home side Esperance, who were handed the trophy and winners’ medals.

The first leg in Casablanca on 25 May ended 1-1 and Esperance were 1-0 up in the return a week later when Wydad thought they had equalised, only for the referee to signal for offside. Wydad disputed the decision saying the scorer was onside.

That sparked protests that continued for around 90 minutes before the game was eventually called off in scenes that bordered on the farcical, with even the Caf president, Ahmad Ahmad, coming down to the side of the pitch to try and resolve the matter without success.

There was no official announcements or explanation for the decision made by CAF but committee members and the two clubs confirmed the decision.

Esperance are expected to appeal against the ruling, club officials said on Wednesday.

The Moroccan Football Federation, whose president, Fouzi Lekjaa, is a powerful figure within the CAF executive committee, said the players had not been informed about the VAR technology being faulty.

Rules set by the game’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, state that a match cannot be invalidated because of VAR technology malfunctioning or if there is a wrong decision involving VAR.

Any replay would have to be staged after the Africa Cup of Nations finals, which are being hosted in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July. The two clubs will have to wait until after AFCON to replay the Champions League second leg fixture. This gives Esperance time to appeal the decision.

[read: Few teams preparing for AFCON in Africa]


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