Rayon Sports will challenge the Rwf12 million fine and a two-year ban slapped on four of their officials by the Confederation of African Football over violation of CAF Disciplinary Code and Statutes.
The breach is said to have occurred during Rayon Sports’ champions league return leg against Lydia Ludic Academic of Burundi in February.
According to a CAF statement, the verdict to sanction the defending Rwanda champions was confirmed on Monday evening in Cairo, Egypt.
After lengthy deliberations, the CAF disciplinary committee ruled that Rayon Sports as a club was guilty of the violation of CAF Code and Statutes, and was fined to a tune of Rwf12m (U$S 15,000) while their officials namely; Patrick Rukundo, Shaffy Mudaheranwa, Jean Paul Nkusi and Prosper Muhirwa were suspended from performing all and any football activities for a period of two years, the statement said.
Speaking to Times Sport on Tuesday, Rayon Sports secretary-general Bernard Itangishaka slammed the sanctions and confirmed the club is consulting its legal advisors with view to appeal the decision.
“We are not contented with the CAF penalties, we are absolutely going to appeal against this unfair decision. Whether the officials in question are guilty or not, they did not act on behalf of the club, hence they should be handled individually. The club was never involved in any wrongdoing,” Itangishaka told this paper yesterday.
Early last month, CAF opened an investigation into match-fixing allegations against Rayon Sports after some club officials were allegedly seen lobbying referees at a hotel the night preceding their second-leg CAF Champions League win over the Burundian side.
Rayon Sports emerged the 1-0 winners in Bujumbura in the preliminary round, sealing qualification to the first round on a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
The Rwandan side would also later bow out of the continent’s premier club competition at the hands of South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns after losing 2-0 on aggregate, thanks to goals conceded in the second leg away in Pretoria.
Rayon Sports effectively dropped to Africa’s second-tier club competition CAF Confederations’ Cup.
CAF’s disciplinary committee, composed of South Africa’s Raymond Hack (chairman), Yassin Osmake of Djibouti (vice chairman) and Issa Sama of Burkina Faso (member), met in Cairo on March 25 to discuss the matter.
Both Rayon Sports and Lydia Ludic were invited to the meeting but the Rwandan club didn’t attend. Lydia Ludic was represented by their honorary president Aimable Habimana.
Asked why no Rayon Sports were not represented at the hearing in Egypt, Itangishaka said:” We would have loved to but there was no need, it would have been a waste of time and money. Our opinion was not going to change anything.”
“We don’t plan to suspend the officials at club level. If they are not cleared after the appeal, they will only serve the CAF punishment and return to work after the stated period of sanctions.” he added.
The CAF Disciplinary Board also suspended a Lydia Ludic official, Eloge Mpundu, from all football activities for a period of one year for having confronted Rayon officials and failure to report the incident to his club.
Rayon Sports have until Thursday to petition CAF Appeals Board.