The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has lifted a five-year ban on Senegalese football club Union Sportive Ouakam after ruling a stadium disaster last year that left a number of people dead was not the team’s fault.
In July 2017, it was reported by local media that eight people were killed and dozens more injured after a stampede caused a wall to collapse during a cup final match between US Ouakam and rival club Stade de Mbour at the Demba Diop Stadium. The CAS later increased this death count to 10.
Fans of US Ouakam were said to have thrown stones and objects at other people, while images showed fans scrambling over a low wall attempting to avoid tear gas that had been fired in an attempt to halt the disorder.
The Senegalese Football Federation initially handed US Ouakam a seven-year ban shortly after the incident after, but this was later reduced to seven years, in addition to a fine of $18,500 (€15,110/£13,300).
However, the CAS, according to Inside World Football, has now ruled US Ouakam was not solely responsible for the incident and will allow the club to compete in the Senegalese top tier, rather than be relegated as part of its initial punishment.
The CAS has also ordered US Ouakam to play the remainder of its matches for the current behind closed doors, as well as forfeit the cup final game with Stade de Mbour.
In a statement, the CAS said: “CAS has established that US Ouakam cannot be held solely responsible for the tragic events.”