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CAS dismisses Wydad's CAF Champions League appeal

Wydad players walked off the pitch to protest a disputed decision in the 2019 CAF Champions League final. FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Wydad Athletic's appeal against their forfeit of the second leg of the 2019 CAF Champions League final, which saw the trophy awarded to Esperance of Tunisia, has been dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Wydad had hoped to overturn the Confederation of African Football (CAF) disciplinary board's ruling that handed the trophy to Esperance after players from the Moroccan club abandoned the game over a disputed refereeing decision.

After the first leg in Morocco finished 1-1, Esperance were leading 1-0 in their home fixture when Walid El Karti's header for Wydad was disallowed.

The situation was exacerbated by a non-functioning Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system, but the CAF Appeal Board ruled that Wydad had forfeited the match by walking off the pitch, and CAS, sport's highest court, upheld that decision.

"The CAS Panel found in particular that the [Wydad] players' decision not to resume play after the interruption of the final in the 59th minute of the game constituted an abandonment," CAS said in a statement.

"... the CAF Appeals Board was correct in confirming... the Disciplinary Board's decision to declare that [Wydad] lost the return leg of the final by forfeit. Accordingly, the CAS Panel dismissed the appeal."