Ahly call on Egyptian FA to make bid to host Champions League final

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 May 2022

Ahly on Wednesday called on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to make an "urgent bid" to host the Champions League final, although Morocco has already been selected as host of the 30 May clash by African governing body CAF.

Ahly v Setif
Ahly s forward Percy Tau (L) celebrates with Ahly s defender Ali Maaloul after scoring the fourth goal during the CAF Champions League semi-final match between Egypt s Ahly and Algeria s ES Setif at the al-Salam stadium in Cairo on May 7, 2022 (AFP)

The Cairo giants are exerting late efforts to have CAF's decision overturned, arguing that Morocco's hosting of the final violates fair play standards.

CAF said earlier this week that both Morocco and Senegal had expressed an interest to stage the game, but the North African country was picked because Senegal eventually withdrew their bid.

Ahly and Morocco's 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.

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

"Al Ahly SC called on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to submit an urgent bid to host the 2022 CAF Champions League final based on the fact that Senegal withdrew their bid to host the game," the club said in a statement.

"Senegal's withdrawal should have been announced earlier by the CAF in order to show transparency from their side and to allow other countries to submit their bids to host the game.

"CAF did not announce the withdrawal of Senegal and chose the same venue to host the game for the second season in a row due to it being the only bid, violating the standards of fair play due to the fact that the decision does not provide equal opportunities for the four semi-finalists and gives one team an advantage of playing the final at home if they reach the final."

Ahly also said on Tuesday that they would lodge a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over CAF's decision.

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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