AFCON qualifiers: CAF reinstates Sao Tome after appeal

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on June 1, 2022 that its appeal panel has finally ruled in favor of the Federation of Sao Tome and Principe in a dispute with that of Mauritius, concerning the eligibility of a Santomean player lined up in the preliminary round of the AfCON 2023. As a result, Sao Tome is reinstated in the qualifiers, while the Mauritian Federation intends to refer to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge this new decision of CAF.
New twist in the “Sao Tome and Principe versus Mauritius” case, this June 1, 2022. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) appeal panel ruled in favor of the Santomean Federation (FSF) regarding the eligibility of the Santomean player Luis Leal, who was lined up in the preliminary round of the 2023 CAN. As a result, the Seleção dos Falcões e Papagaios should play the group A matches against Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, after having been excluded.
The CAF disciplinary panel had indeed sided with the arguments of the Mauritius Football Association (MFA). The MFA claimed that the experienced Portuguese-speaking striker had played the first leg (Sao Tome won 1-0) despite not having respected the pre-match anti-Covid protocol. The appeal panel, for its part, considers, in its conclusions, made public: “Given that neither the CAF Disciplinary Code nor the CAF Covid-19 protocol provide for sanctions in case of failure to comply with a mandatory PCR test, it is legally unfounded to consider the player in question as ineligible.”
“The decision of the CAF Disciplinary Panel is annulled in its entirety,” the body wrote in a statement. The result of the match between Mauritius and Sao Tome and Principe is therefore ratified and validated “.
Thanks to its 1-0 win in the first leg and the 3-3 draw in the return, Sao Tome and Principe is de facto reinstated for the group phase. It remains to be seen how the FSF will manage to gather its players in time to play the games against Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria that Mauritians had to play on 9 and 13 June 2022.
Mauritians who should not stay there either. The decision of the appeal panel is contestable before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The MFA will have to move quickly if it wants to reverse the order of things, this time before the CAS. That is its intention, she confirmed.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network