Soccer-Wydad appeal over 2019 Champions League final result dismissed by CAS

Sept 18 (Reuters) - Moroccan club Wydad Athletic’s appeal against their forfeiting of the second leg of the 2019 African Champions League final, which saw the trophy awarded to Esperance of Tunisia, was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.

Wydad had hoped to overturn the Confederation of African Football (CAF) disciplinary board’s ruling that handed the trophy to Esperance after players from the Moroccan club abandoned the game over a disputed refereeing decision.

After the first leg in Morocco finished 1-1, Esperance were leading 1-0 in their home fixture when Walid El Karti’s header for Wydad was disallowed.

The situation was exacerbated by a non-functioning Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, but the CAF Appeal Board ruled that Wydad had forfeited the match by walking off the pitch and CAS, sport’s highest court, upheld that decision.

"The CAS Panel found in particular that the WAC's players' decision not to resume play after the interruption of the final in the 59th minute of the game constituted an abandonment," it said in a statement here.

“...the CAF Appeals Board was correct in confirming... the Disciplinary Board’s decision to declare that the WAC lost the return leg of the final by forfeit. Accordingly, the CAS Panel dismissed the appeal.” (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)