CAF Confedration Cup: End of the road for Heartland

Heartland-Shengolpixs-300-Nigeria Cup holders, Heartland have been disqualified from this year’s CAF Confederation Cup following the failure of their protest against being walked over by Gabon’s US Bitam last weekend.

Caf’s Inter-clubs Committee struck out the case of Heartland to seek a force majeure in order to have the botched first round, second leg game replayed in Gabon.

The African football ruling body stated that the absence of Heartland “was mainly the responsibility of the club, rather than a case of force majeure.”

A statement issued via Caf’s official website on Saturday read: “In relation to the match initially scheduled on Saturday April 6th which did not take place between US Bitam (Gabon) and Heartland (Nigeria) in the frame of the 10th edition of the Orange Confederation Cup 2013, the referees and officials registered the absence of Heartland team at the time of kick off.

“The 1st leg match played in Nigeria ended with a score of 2-1 in favour of Heartland and the return leg was scheduled on April 6th at 16h00 in Libreville ÔÇô Gabon.”

The Caf committee’s decision was taken in line with the Article 16 of the Caf Confederation Cup regulations.

Article 16 of the competition states: “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 apply to the teams which were declared disqualified by decision of Caf.”

However, Heartland will face no punishment from Caf but stand eliminated from the championship, according to the body’s inter-clubs committee.

US Bitam will now progress to the second round of the Caf Confederation Cup to face USM Algiers