In a major embarrassment for African football, Esperance have been ordered to return the African Champions League trophy and to replay the second leg of the final.
The Tunisian side led 1-0 in Saturday’s second leg but Moroccan opponents Wydad Casablanca left the pitch after an equaliser they scored was disallowed.
Wydad called for VAR to check if the goal should stand but the system was not working, prompting their protest.
And after reviewing the matter, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) said the second leg will be replayed at a neutral venue, noting that the 1-1 draw from the first leg in Morocco stands.
The replay will be after the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, which ends on 19 July.
A Caf statement said “conditions of game and safety were not met” in the second leg and made clear Esperance players must return their winners’ medals as well as the trophy.
Play in the second leg was halted after Wydad thought they had equalised on 59 minutes through Walid El Karti’s header. It was disallowed for an infringement.
The VAR system was visible on the side of the pitch but the players had not been told it was not in use because of a malfunction.
The referee eventually awarded the victory to three-time champions Esperance after a 95-minute delay.
Wydad’s president said the club was “the victim of a scandal” and Caf subsequently called an Executive Committee meeting where the decision to replay the game was made.