Ahly to appeal to CAS over Champions League final controversy

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 May 2022

Ahly said on Tuesday they would lodge a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the decision of African governing body CAF to hold the Champions League final in Morocco.

Ahly v Setif
Ahly crushed ES Setif 4-0 in the first-leg of the African Champions League semi-final in Cairo (Ahram)

The reigning African champions were infuriated after CAF turned a blind eye to their request to stage the one-off final at a "neutral venue".

CAF's decision means that Morocco's Wydad will play at their own Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca should they advance to the 30 May final.

Ahly and Wydad put one foot in the final with comfortable wins over Algeria's ES Setif and Angola's Petro Atletico in the semi-final first-legs respectively.

The Red devils, 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.

"Ahly SC decided to present an appeal to CAS against the decision of CAF of not holding the 2022 Champions League final in a neutral venue, aside from the venues of the four semi-finalists, in addition to other violations that do not meet the Olympic Charter, FIFA and CAF regulations," the club said in a statement.

"The club has previously demanded CAF to play the game in a neutral venue and will appeal against CAF’s decision, requesting CAS to resolve the situation before the competition's final.

"Moreover, Ahly SC hopes that CAF will be keen not to disrupt justice and that they will provide CAS with all the required documents that will help in achieving justice."

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 Wydad's Mohammed V Stadium hosted last year's final, which Ahly also won with a 3-0 victory over South Africa's Kaizer Chiefs.

"Ahly's decision to appeal to CAS came after CAF took the decision to hold the CAF Champions League final in the same venue for the second season in a row. This decision will give a home advantage to a certain team that will play at home in front of their fans in addition to violating other laws and regulations," the statement added.

"CAF stated that their decision was based on the fact that there was only one bidder available to host the match without giving a proper explanation over the reasons behind the withdrawal of the other bid."

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