CAIRO – Following an executive meeting, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has decided to retain Tunisia’s Esperance as CAF Champions League holders on Wednesday.
The decision comes after the Tunisian giants overcame Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the final that was staged in May.
CAF’s disciplinary board met on Wednesday to preside over the long-standing debacle which made headlines around the world.
“The Wydad Athletic Club: is considered to have lost the game in the Final 2nd leg, a fine of 50,000 USD (Fifty Thousand US Dollars) is imposed on the club for the abandonment of the match and a fine of 15,000 USD (Fifteen Thousand US Dollars) is imposed for the use of flares by the supporters,” said CAF in a statement.
“Club EST: Mr Mohamed Meddeb, President of Club EST has been fined 20,000 USD (Twenty Thousand US Dollars) as well as receiving a warning for his unsporting behaviour towards the President of CAF.
“The club EST is fined with 50,000 USD (Fifty thousand US Dollars) for the use of smoke and projectiles and the unsporting behaviour of their supporters. EST will play their next two (2) home interclub matches behind closed doors for the excessive use of smoke and firecrackers.
“However the Disciplinary Board has decided to suspend the sanction in question provided that the club is not found guilty of a similar offense for the next twelve (12) months,” concluded the statement.
Esperance won the final in May after Wydad abandoned the game in the 55th minute owing to Walid El Karti’s disallowed goal and subsequent Video Assistant Referee (VAR) controversy.
Reports suggested that Wydad called for video replays but the technology was unavailable, prompting the North Africans to refuse to restart play for nearly 120 minutes, thus forcing Gambian official Bakary Gassama to end the game.
After that debacle, CAF overturned the decision to award Esperance the title, demanding a return of the medals and announced a rematch of the second-leg at an unnamed date and venue.
However, both clubs appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland where the football governing body was called on to make the final decision on how to proceed.
The decision comes to remove the controversy that surrounded the club continental tournament as the 2019/20 edition gets underway this weekend.