Why Hearts of Oak are set for automatic qualification to CAF Champions League group stage

Ghana Premier League champions Hearts of Oak are set to gain automatic qualification into the group stages of the CAF Champions League.

Why Hearts of Oak are set for automatic qualification to CAF Champions League group stage

This follows a ban imposed on their opponents Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) Casablanca by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

Hearts were scheduled to face the Moroccan side in the second round of the Champions League after eliminating Guinean side CI Kamsar in the previous round.

However, Wydad Athletic Club are currently serving a ban after failing to honour some financial obligations to Nigerian international, Chisom Elvis Chikatara.

The club owed Chikatara a total sum of $187,250.33 before December 31, 2020, including a judgement sum of $165,167.

There was also a five per cent interest accruing from April 7, 2019 to April 7, 2021 and a cost of 3,000 Swiss Francs.

Wydad Athletic Club had attempted to appeal FIFA’s ban but the ruling was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The club’s ineligibility to play in the Champions League was communicated to Hearts by the Head of Sports Law (Africa), Johnny Precious Ogbah, on September 20.

In a letter addressed to the Ghanaian club, Ogbah said Wydad have been banned from the Champions League due to their failure to meet CAF’s deadline of August 15, 2021, in paying the overdue payables owed Chikatara.

“We write to inform you that your opponents in the next round of the CAF Champions League, WAC of Morocco, are ineligible to participate in the CAF Champions League 2021/2022,” the letter said.

“This is because vide a petition dated July 29, 2021, we informed the CAF of their ineligibility as they owed our clients overdue payables and after investigation, CAF gave them a deadline of August 15, 2021, to pay the overdue payables they owed our client.”

This development means Hearts are set to gain automatic qualification to the group stage of the Champions League.

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