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‘Clearly tampered with’: Football club accused of issuing ‘dubious’ Covid-19 results as African Champions League game is scrapped

‘Clearly tampered with’: Football club accused of issuing ‘dubious’ Covid-19 results as African Champions League game is scrapped
A football team who traveled more than 3,000 miles for an African Champions League match have questioned the Covid-19 results that caused the game to be called off shortly before kick-off, claiming that the outcomes were fiddled.

Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko had left their hotel for Sudanese hosts Al-Hilal's stadium when a bizarre series of allegations began, initially resulting in kick-off being delayed for 30 minutes while the "missing Covid result" of a visiting player was awaited.

Writing on social media, Asante said that four of their officials and seven of their players had tested positive in a set of results that they later described as "dubious", leaving them requiring a negative outcome for the one player yet to receive a result.

That verdict evidently came back positive, as the match was called off because Asante, who had stayed overnight in Ethiopia on their lengthy trip, were unable to name the minimum matchday squad of 15 players.

"The Covid results were delivered by known officials of Al Hilal but, suspiciously enough, the positive results clearly look different from the negative results," said a statement from Asante, who were said to have had a full set of negative results before setting off on their mammoth journey.

"The team [Kotoko] has made an official complaint to the match commissioner as the Covid results have clearly been tampered with. The team is, however, at the stadium to present a team."

As fans attempted to make sense of what was happening, Asante provided an update: "Game on temporary hold as we await the delivery of the 'missing Covid result' of one Asante Kotoko player.

"Kindly note that without the result of the outstanding player, Asante Kotoko cannot raise a team of the required players needed to play."

Asante, who lost the first leg 1-0 in Ghana, elaborated on their issues after the postponement.

"We made an official complaint to the match commissioner registering our utmost suspicion with the results," they said.

"The players and officials who were alleged to have tested positive had their results typed out as a letter.

"The... results had many suspect features, indicative of the fact that it did not reflect the reality on true and proper medical grounds.

"We have since filed an official protest through the Ghana Football Association to the CAF [Confederation of African Football].

"Let us assure our fans and all Ghanaians that we shall use all legitimate means to ensure that the right thing is done.

"In the meantime, we have been asked to evacuate the stadium pending a decision from CAF."

Al Hilal responded by saying: "Mr Luis Hakizimana, the referee of the match, and Mr Amir Abdi, the match observer, decided to submit their report to CAF due to the emergence of seven cases of coronavirus infection at Asante Kotoko Club.

"After the results of the two teams' surveys arrived, it became clear that Asante Kotoko could not start the match with 15 players, so the match was not played."

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