Ahly files protest against CAF's fine, punishment of Azaro ahead of Champions League final

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Tuesday 6 Nov 2018

Ahly's forward Walid Azaro (L) vies for the ball with ES Tunis' defender Chamseddine Dhaouadi (R) during the CAF Champions League final football match (AFP)

Ahly’s management has asked the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to send a protest letter to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after the recent punishments imposed on the club and its Moroccan striker Walid Azaro ahead of Friday's Champions League final.

The Reds will be hosted by Tunisian Side Esperance on Friday in the return match of the prestigious African tournament. Ahly took a first leg advantage after beating the Tunisians 3-1 at home on Friday.

Azaro will miss the next match in Rades, as he was handed a two-match ban by CAF late on Monday for disciplinary reasons.

In a statement published on its official website on Monday, CAF said that after reviewing the footage of the Champions League final, the chairman of CAF’s disciplinary board has decided to suspend Azaro for the next two matches, “namely match 148 E.S.T. [Tunisia] vs. Al Ahly Sporting Club [Egypt] and his next match during the CAF interclubs competitions.”

Ahly has asked the Egyptian football governing body to voice their complaint to CAF, saying they are astonished that Azaro was suspended despite the fact that he was not booked or convicted by the referee. Ahly also said that the official video of the match did not show any violation by the Moroccan striker.

The 23-year-old Azaro took centre stage in the first leg after being awarded two penalties in either side of the interval, which sparked controversy as television replays showed there was minimal contact.

Azaro, who finished as the Egyptian league’s top scorer last season, was also caught on camera ripping off his shirt, claiming that it had been made by the Tunisian defender.

The scene sparked outrage and the Tunisian Football Association held an emergency meeting on Saturday listing several demands to CAF including the suspension of Azaro for his “unsportsmanlike behavior and assaulting an Esperance player."

Ahly responded to the jersey incident in Tuesday's letter; assuring that the player was punished by the club for his behavior. However, Ahly said that it is not unusual behavior among players all over the world, but they do not receive any punishment.

The club questioned the decision to impose the punishment on Azaro, especially as it comes ahead of a decisive match.

Ahly have also been handed a fine of $20,000, and French Coach Patrice Carteron has been invited to appear before the disciplinary board for a hearing regarding allegations of unsportsmanlike behavior.

The summoning of Carteron is an incomprehensible move, Ahly said, since the French tactician was kicked by one of Esperance’s players.

Ahly also expressed their astonishment at CAF's intention to discuss on Wednesday the Tunisian football association's request to lift the suspension of two Esperance players ahead of the final.

The eight-time African Champions Ahly said that this would be unfair, as the rule of suspending those who received two yellow cards was applied on all teams during the whole tournament.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: