The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it will rule by the end of the month on separate appeals filed by the teams involved in the abandoned African Champions League final on May 31.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) ordered the second-leg match between Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Esperance of Tunisia replayed in a neutral country after a video review failure resulted in Wydad walking off the field in Rades, Tunisia.
Neither club wants the replay. Instead, both have appealed to CAS to be declared the winner and be awarded the prize money from CAF.
The dispute began early in the second half with Esperance leading 1-0. Wydad was denied an equalizing goal for an offside call though television replays showed the call was incorrect. The Moroccan club called for the video assistant referee (VAR) system to be used. But CAF had failed to tell either team before the game that the system was not working. VAR had been used in the first leg in Morocco the week before, a match that ended 1-1.
Wydad walked off in protest and after more than an hour delay Esperance was awarded the victory and title through forfeit. But CAF’s executive committee reversed that decision on June 5, calling instead for the replay.
CAS, in a statement, said the clubs and the CAF have prepared and agreed upon a procedural timetable for arbitration, with a final decision to be issued no later than July 31.
The club that wins the trophy is supposed to be Africa’s representative at the seven-team FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December.
Photo: Wydad players ask referee Bakary Papa Gassama (C) of Gambia to check the goal denied by the linesman before finding out the video assistant referee (VAR) system did not work. (Getty Images)