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CAS Rejects Benin Appeal

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected Benin Football Federation’s appeal over the abandoned 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.

Benin had requested for disciplinary sanctions and financial compensations against Sierra Leone following the cancellation of the match that was scheduled to be played on 30 March 2021 in Freetown.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided to postpone the match after reviewing official accounts of the incidents that stopped the match from taking place at the scheduled time.

“On 30 March 2021, Sierra Leone was supposed to host this match against Benin, which was eventually cancelled by CAF due to infringements committed by the Sierra Leone FA (SLFA) in the CAF sanitary protocol. As a consequence, CAF recognized the failures in the Covid-19 testing procedures and ordered the postponement of the match to14 June 2021,” CAS stated in its ruling.

“The SLFA appealed against that decision –requesting that the match be forfeited by the FBF –and this appeal was dismissed by the CAF Jury of Appeal. In parallel, the FBF filed a complaint at the CAF and filed several requests for disciplinary sanctions and financial compensations against the SLFA.

“The CAF has joined the FBF requests to the procedure involving the SLFA, but the CAF Jury of Appeal did not entertain them in its decision. The FBF has then filed the same claims and requests at the CAS, including a request to exclude the SLFA of the CAN Total Cameroon 2021 and/or to declare the SLFA as the loser of the match by 3-0.

“The CAS has partially upheld the appeal filed by the FBF by ruling that the decision to postpone the match and to schedule it for 14 June 2021 is confirmed and that the request to find that the SLFA has forfeited and/or withdrawn from the competition Total Cameroon 2021 is dismissed.

CAS statement adds; “The request to declare the SLFA as the loser by 3-0 of the CAN Total Cameroon 2021 qualifiers against the FBF to be played on 30 March 2021 is dismissed and the request to pronounce sanctions against SLFA and to order SLFA to pay damages to FBF is referred back to CAF in order to be assigned to the competent CAF Bodies.”

Benin only needs to draw the match to be sure of qualification for the Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon in 2022.

For Sierra Leone to qualify a 1-0 win would see them through instead of Benin, however they will need a two-goal margin of victory if they concede a goal.

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