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03.04.2006 Football News

Hearts demands automatic qualification

By GNA

Accra, April 3, GNA - Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club has called on the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) to declare them winners and grant them an automatic qualification to the 1/8 stage of the MTN/CAF Champions League competition.

The call made by the club follows the decision of their opponents, St. George of Ethiopia to walk off the pitch before the end of the game in the second leg of their match at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium. This was stated in a letter faxed to the Cairo secretariat of CAF through the Ghana Football Association (GFA) on Monday, April 3 signed by Mr Asford Tettey Oku, Administration Manager of hearts and made available to the GNA Sports.

The message said that the Ethiopians behaved unprofessionally and unsportingly when a rightful penalty was awarded Hearts in the 44th minute of the first half when Hearts were already leading 2-0.

It said St George did not only challenge the referee but left the field of play without the referee's permission and after the referee had waited for the stipulated time to see if they would rescind their decision, which they did not, the referee in consultation with the Match Commissioner accordingly called off the match.

The protest letter indicated that the decision of St George to walk out of the pitch was in gross violation of both the CAF Disciplinary Code and the regulations of the Inter-Clubs Competition, hence the need for the Club to face the appropriate sanctions.

According to the letter, Article 16 of the Regulations states that "If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match - except in case of force majeure accepted by the Organising Committee - or if it refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the permission of the referee, it shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition. The same shall be applied to the teams which were declared disqualified by decision of CAF".

Hearts are therefore calling for the strict enforcement of the above article and its full advantages including qualification to the 1/8 stage automatically conferred on them.

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