TUNIS: Esperance of Tunisia were declared winners of the African Champions League by a walkover after a stoppage of an hour and 25 minutes in the second leg of a final abandoned when opponents Wydad Casablanca walked off the pitch.
An executive committee meeting of the Confederation of African Football on Tuesday, on the eve of FIFA Congress in Paris, will consider how to react.
Wydad were losing 2-1 on aggregate after a 41st-minute Esperance goal from Youcef Belaili. They claimed an equaliser just before the hour but a headed ‘goal’ by Ismail El Haddad was disallowed for an infringement in the build-up.
The Moroccan team demanded that Gambian referee Bakary Gassama review the decision in consultation with the video assistant referee, which was being used for only the fourth time in an African club competition game.
Wydad substitutes and coaches also raced forward to confront the referee while officials, including CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, tried in vain to calm the situation.
A crowd of 60,000 waited while Wydad refused an order from referee Gassama to play on and left him no alternative but to abandon the game.
Esperance had held a 10-man Wydad to a 1-1 draw away in the first leg the previous Friday which had already seen several contentious VAR decisions. Later CAF suspended Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha for six months after complaints from the Moroccans.
The Tunisians are only the fourth club to retain the title and won it for the fourth time after previous success in 1994, 2011 and last year.