Egypt's Ahly escalate African Champions League refereeing crisis to FIFA

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Tuesday 3 Dec 2019

Ahly believe they have been subject to refereeing injustice in the Champions League in recent years


Ahly escalated their recent crisis with the referee of their African Champions League match against Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel to world governing body FIFA, the club announced on Tuesday.

The Reds tasted their first defeat under new coach Rene Weiler after slumping to a 1-0 loss to Etoile Sahel in their opening group stage game of Africa's premier club competition in Rades on Friday.

Ahly, who are eyeing their first Champions League title since winning the last of their record eight crowns in 2013, said they were the victims of a glaring refereeing mistake by Botswana referee Joshua Bondo. The team played with ten men after central defender Ayman Ashraf received a red card on 13 minutes for a last-man foul on an Etoile forward. 

Television replays suggested that the straight red card was harsh especially as the Etoile man was not in a certain-goal position as he anticipated a long ball.

The Cairo giants announced on Saturday they would file a complaint to the African football governing body (CAF) against what they described as costly refereeing errors in the Champions League.

On Tuesday, they also decided  to go to FIFA.

"Ahly's board decided to file a new complaint to FiFA's ethics committee over the refereeing injustice that the first team has been subjected to in the Champions League in recent years, especially what happened against Etoile Sahel," the club said in a statement on their official website. 

"The Botswanian referee committed many mistakes … that directly affected the outcome of the game.

"Refereeing mistakes in African Champions league affected Ahly negatively on different occasions, but the club refused to lodge complaints. Things now exceeded all limits especially as the CAF's refereeing committee didn't take an action against these errors," the statement concluded.

Ahly also asked FIFA for an "urgent investigation" regarding the Etoile match, complaining that referee  Joshua Bondo was assigned two games for Ahly this season by CAF as well as what they called "the determination to hamper the team's progress in recent years."

The Red Devils will host Sudan's Al-Hilal in the group stage's second round on 6 December.

Etoile top Group B with three points, on level with Sudanese giants Al-Hilal, who beat Zimbabwe's FC Platinum 2-1 at home on Friday in the other group match.

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