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Esperance finally crowned champions of Africa

Esperance had initially won the title in May. (PHOTOS/Courtesy)

The Confederation of African football has announced Esperance as the 2018/19 CAF Champions League winners.

This was after CAF’s disciplinary board presided over the long-standing debacle over the outcome of the final, on Wednesday night.

Esperance had initially won the final against Wydad Casablanca in May after the Moroccan giants abandoned the game 10 minutes into the second have, owing to a Walid El Karti’s disallowed goal and subsequent VAR controversy.

On 55 minutes, Walid scored what a goal that would have leveled the scores 1-1 (Agg: 2-2) but it was ruled out for offside. Wydad players called for VAR but the technology was unavailable hence refusing to restart play for close to 2 hours, forcing referee Bakary Gassama to call of the game.

Wydad (white) refused to play on after VAR controversy in the second leg of the final.

Esperance were handed both the winners medals and trophy and declared the winners.

Days later, Caf overturned the decision to award Esperance the title, demanded a return of the medals and announced a rematch of the second-leg at an unnamed date and venue.

Both clubs appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where Caf was called on to make the final decision on how to proceed with a reply ruled out.

The African body’s disciplinary board has subsequently meted out punishment to Wydad for their inappropriate behaviour in the game.

Wydad is considered to have lost the game in the final second leg, a fine of 50,000 USD is imposed on the club for the abandonment of the match and a fine of 15,000 USD is imposed for the use of flares by the supporters.

While handing out punishments, Esperance wasn’t left out either, with club president Mohamed Meddeb receiving a 20,000 USD fine, while the club has been fined 50,000 USD for their supporters’ unsuitable behaviour.

The Tunisian outfit also risks playing two continental home games behind closed doors after the excessive use of smoke and firecrackers. Caf will only enforce the punishment if a repeat offense is committed in the next 12 months.

The decision means Esperance will represent Africa at the 2019 FIFA Club World cup as the champions of Africa.

The 2019 title is Esperance’s fourth in history having won it in 1994, 2001 and 2018.

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