Egypt's Ahly say Champions League final should be held at 'neutral venue'

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 May 2022

Egyptian giants Ahly called on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to hold the Champions League final at a "neutral venue" after recent reports said Wydad's Mohammed V Stadium is likely to host it.

Ahly won a record-extending 10th Champions League title last year with a 3-0 win over South Africa s Kaizer Chiefs at Morocco s Mohammed V Stadium (Photo: Ahly s official Twitter account)


Ahly and Moroccan side Wydad have both put one foot in the final of Africa's blue-riband club competition with comfortable wins over Algeria's ES Setif and Angola's Petro Atletico in the semi-final first-legs respectively.

Reigning champions Ahly, who are eyeing an unprecedented hat-trick of straight Champions League crowns, crushed 10-man Setif 4-0 in Cairo while Wydad claimed a 3-1 win over Petro in Luanda.

CAF has not yet formally selected the final's venue, but with Moroccan press saying that Casablanca's Mohammed V Stadium is its preferred choice, Ahly moved to demand "full justice" from the African governing body.

"Al Ahly SC sent an official letter on Sunday to Mr. Patrice Motsepe, the president of CAF, demanding a neutral venue for the 2022 CAF Champions League final," the Red Devils said in a statement.

"Al Ahly highlighted in the letter that the final should not be hosted by one of the countries of the four teams competing in the CAF Champions League semi-finals and that a neutral venue will provide equal chances for the four teams.  

"Al Ahly stressed that the game should be held in a neutral venue, since CAF did not choose the hosting country in an earlier stage, noting that giving one of the four teams the home advantage in the final contradicts the fair play standards.

"Al Ahly expressed their full trust in CAF's professionalism and fairness and their commitment to preserving equal rights for the four competing teams," the statement, which was released in Arabic and English, added.

The Champions League final used to be held over two legs but CAF decided to hold it as a single game in a pre-selected venue in 2020.

Back then, Ahly defeated perennial rivals Zamalek 2-1 in a memorable final played in Cairo while the Mohammed V Stadium hosted last year's final, which Ahly also won with a 3-0 victory over South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs.

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