Ahly president blames EFA for wasting club rights, asks CAF for explanation regarding CL final

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 11 Jun 2022

President of Ahly Club Mahmoud El-Khatib accused the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) for standing against his club’s interest regarding playing the Champions League final in Morocco.

 FA

 

He also asked the CAF to explain how it came to this decision and how it is supposed to support fair play.

“EFA President Gamal Alaam told me that the EFA already sent a letter to the CAF regarding hosting the Champions League final, but Hany Abu Raida — a member of the CAF Executive Office — said that this did not happen,” El-Khatib said in a press conference discussing the CL final at the club’s headquarters on Saturday.

“It is not the first time that the EFA has stood against our club. The EFA is responsible for hosting requests, not the participating clubs.

“The EFA, or whoever was responsible for this blunder, wasted Egypt’s right, not just Ahly’s,” he added.

“We aren’t in a rivalry with any party. We are only searching for justice and guarantees that this will happen again in the future,” El-Khatib said.

On 30 May, Ahly lost the CL final to Moroccan champions Wydad at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca.

Ahly, who were chasing a record-extending 11th triumph, failed in their attempts to have the game moved to a “neutral venue” after the CAF said that Morocco was the only bidder.

“The hosting of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League final was awarded to Morocco after Senegal — which was the only other country that had fulfilled the hosting requirements — withdrew its bid,” the CAF said in a statement before the game.

Ahly had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the decision of the CAF, but the club’s efforts were in vain as the request was also rejected by the court.

“Ahly’s board rejected the idea of withdrawing because the club was facing the possibility of losing three titles at least, as such a measure would result in a two-year suspension. There were also several financial and marketing losses,” El-Khatib explained.

“We decided to continue fighting for our rights, and we sent a letter to the CAF asking for half of the tickets of the game, but they did not reply,” he added.

An explanation from the CAF

El-Khatib also criticised the CAF’s decision to grant Morocco the hosting rights for the second successive year, saying that it was unfair and not suitable for a big continent like Africa.

“We need an explanation from the CAF regarding certain points. The CAF said that Nigeria and South Africa’s bids to host the CL were incomplete, and yet they just granted Nigeria the hosting rights of the Confederation Cup final,” the Ahly chairperson said.

He also accused the CAF of delaying the announcement of Senegal’s withdrawal and also not granting all countries the opportunity to complete their CL hosting bids, unlike what they did with Nigeria regarding hosting the Confederation Cup final.

Furthermore, El-Khatib said that both the Champions League and Confederation Cup finals should be held in a two-leg format instead of the current one-leg, as the circumstances of travelling in Africa are totally different from Europe.

He also stressed that a rotation should be applied by the CAF for the finals to ensure equality between all African countries, stressing that applying VAR technology from the tournament’s start should be a must.

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