Wydad Casablanca player celebrates goal Credit: Courtesy Photo

Wydad Casablanca re-elected president Said Naciri has confirmed they will contest the decision by CAF’s Disciplinary committee to award victory to Esperance.

Wydad Casablanca’s players celebrate after winning the CAF Champions League final football match between Egypt’s Al-Ahly and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca on November 4, 2017, at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca. / AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA

The drama continues from the May finals which ended in controversy after Wydad players refused to continue with the game contesting their disallowed goal without consulting VAR.

It was later discovered that VAR wasn’t working and the ref awarded victory to Esperance but was later turned down with CAF ordering a replay which both teams refused and lodged complaints to Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS)

The Cas ruling however said that CAF had no powers to order a replay and thus a decision on September 15 to award Esperance the championship.

Here is the ruling by the CAF Appeal Board:

“…the Board underlined the fact that the absence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has no legal effects whatsoever and that its sole purpose is to aid the referee to take the correct decision…,” the Caf Appeal Board decision explained.

“That the referee is vested with the power to have the final decision on the field of play since the start of the game, and that his decision is not up to review by the Appeal Board.

“The match officials’ reports were very clear that the Wydad Athletic Club’s players refused to resume the match even after several attempts conducted by the referee, to the point that the referee waited almost 90 minutes before he whistled the end of the match.

“The Appeal Board has noted that the stoppage of almost 90 minutes was due to the Wydad Athletic Club’s players’ failure to resume the match, the players were then instructed to resume play by the referee who has seen his attempts fail to no avail.

“Therefore the Appeal Board confirms that the match was forfeited by Wydad Athletic Club because their players refused to resume the match.”

Naciri however has a different view and says Wydad will fight for their rights.

“We will defend our rights until the end. For two months we have been fighting this “oppression”. Esperance don’t deserve to win the cup in the way we witnessed in Rades,” he told BBC Sport.

“Our next step is to take the case back to CAS to seek fairness.”

Wydad have an opportunity to appeal the decision with CAF before September 25.

Ismael Kiyonga

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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