Last January 17 the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued the dispositive part of the Award in the case “TAS 2017/A/5340 US Ouakam v. Fédération Sénégalaise de Football & Ligue Sénégalaise de Football Professionnel” by which it decided to set aside almost completely the sanctions imposed by the Senegalese Federation on US Ouakam after the incidents occurred on July 15, 2017 on occasion of the final of the League’s Cup between US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour.
During the half-time interval of the extra-time, the supporters of both teams began to throw each other stones and other objects in a back and forth dispute. Avalanches took place and the wall of the stand where the supporters of Stade de Mbour were allocated collapsed, causing the death of eight people. Most of the remaining supporters (from all zones of the Stadium) invaded the field of play and the match was suspended with the result of 1-2 for Stade de Mbour.
The Appeal Committee of the Senegalese Federation considered that US Ouakam was the only responsible of the incidents and decided to sanction them with (i) the loss of the game by forfeit, (ii) the exclusion for five years from all competitions (in any category), (iii) the relegation to the regional league (4th division) on their return after the five years and (iv) with a fine of ten million Senegalese francs.
After a three months’ procedure since the filing of the Statement of Appeal, the sole arbitrator – Mr. François Klein – accepted almost entirely all the arguments of our client by considering that US Ouakam cannot be held sole responsible for the tragic incidents occurred, and has set aside almost all the initial sanctions imposed by the Senegalese Federation. Thus, the loss of the game by forfeit is maintained (confirming the victory by Stade de Mbour), the fine is reduced from ten million to only five hundred thousand Senegalese francs, and matches between US Ouakam and Stade de Mbour will be played behind closed doors during this season.
But above all, the most important victory is the complete elimination of the five-year exclusion from all competitions and of the relegation to the regional league, together with the joint imposition to the Federation and the League to bear 90% of the costs of the arbitration and to pay US Ouakam CHF 4.000 as contribution towards the legal fees and expenses incurred by US Ouakam.
This CAS’ decision if a huge success for the team composed of our colleague Toni Roca together with two great professionals like Juan de Dios Crespo and Enric Ripoll from the firm Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo Abogados, who we are very grateful for their invaluable collaboration. We also would like to thank US Ouakam for trusting us in this relevant case and wish them all the best for this season.
You can access the press release from CAS in this link (in French).