Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has joined critics of the decision to take over management of African football, questioning the role that the compliance committee is playing at the global body.
‘‘Quo vadis FIFA? African Football under control, new colonialism? Well done courageous Leodegar Tenga! Is the compliance committee sleeping?’‘ Blatter tweeted on Friday evening.
Blatter was president of FIFA for 17 years until he was kicked out of the position by the Ethics Committee on charges of coruption and financial mismanagement. He has since been banned from taking part in any FIFA activities until 2022.
Did CAF approve FIFA takeover?
Blatter was referring to the Tanzania football boss, Tanga who has cast doubt on whether the CAFExecutive Committee approved FIFA’s plans as claimed in the joint statement issued on Thursday.
In leaked messages that Tanga reportedly sent to a CAF Whatsapp group, the Tanzanian football official argues that while the members agreed to the FIFA takeover in principle, there was no agreement on the details of how the cooperation would be implemented.
“There is no doubt that at our Exco Meeting yesterday (Wednesday), we unanimously agreed that, in principle, we do agree to the cooperation between FIFA and CAF would lead to promoting integrity, ethical practice and FairPlay and eradicating corruption,” Tanga wrote.
“But we also agreed that Exco members would be given time to go through the proposed text and come up with the details of the cooperation.’‘
Tanga further argues that English-speaking members of the committee had asked for translated versions of the briefing documents that were written in French.
According to Tanga, a final decision on the matter was to be reached at an Exco meeting next month.
“Finally, it was agreed that the matter will be discussed at the forthcoming Exco Meeting (of 16th July, two days before the Ordinary General Assembly) where details and mode of cooperation would be sorted out.”
UEFA resists FIFA’s decision
FIFA’s decision to take a prominent role in the affairs of football in Africa have been resisted by the European football federation (UEFA).
Aleksander Ceferin, the head of European football, was among the FIFA vice presidents asked by Infantino on Thursday to approve plans to appoint FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura as FIFAGeneral Delegate for Africa.
Ceferin said Infantino’s proposal was received at 1:50 a.m. Thursday and a response was sought by 10:30 a.m.
“I cannot be expected to have your proposal examined by UEFA’s legal team or consult the European members of the FIFA Council on a subject of such great importance in such a short time,” Ceferin wrote to Infantino in a letter seen by The Associated Press.
“Never in the history of our institutions has the FIFA Secretary General, who under the FIFA Statutes leads the organization, been placed on secondment to take control of a confederation, even with the latter’s consent.”
Ceferin is a member of the FIFA Council, which features the regional confederation leaders who serve as vice presidents of the global governing body.
Ceferin said Samoura becoming FIFA General Delegate for Africa while retaining the title of secretary general “raises a large number of questions and in particular the likelihood of ‘conflicts of interest’ as well as doubts over whether it complies with the statutes of FIFA and the CAF.”
“Without our legal analysis of the situation and consultation of the European members of the FIFACouncil, I am not at liberty to approve the proposal you put forward.”
Samoura, a Senegalese former United Nations official, became FIFA’s first female secretary general in 2016 after Infantino’s election.
Ceferin has asked Infantino for an “accurate description of the role and powers of the FIFA General Delegate for Africa, an accurate description of the way FIFA would function in her absence.”
“At this stage, I am not in possession of enough information or assurances on this subject to be able to approve the proposal,” Ceferin wrote to Infantino.
“For these various reasons, I am sure you will fully understand that, in the current state of affairs and without additional information from you, I cannot approve the proposal set out in your letter sent to the FIFA Bureau of the Council members to appoint a FIFA General Delegate for Africa.”
FIFA takes over management of African football
Global football governing body FIFA have appointed General Fatma Samoura as “FIFA General Delegate for Africa” for a 6-month period from 1 August 2019 to 31 January 2020, renewable with the agreement of both organisations.
The agreement, announced in a joint statement, effectively sees FIFA take over the management of football on the African continent.
‘‘FIFA and CAF will work closely together in order to best serve all African Member Associations to bring stability, serenity, professionalism and effective football development on the African continent,’‘ read part of the statement.
Under the new arrangement, Samoura, who still retains her position as Secretary General of FIFA, will work with CAF president Ahmad and a team of experts to oversee the following;
- To oversee operational management of CAF, including governance and administrative procedures,
- To ensure the efficient and professional organization of all CAF competitions;
- To support the growth and development of football in all countries and regions of CAF
‘‘As part of this process, it was also agreed that FIFA and CAF will undertake as soon as possible a full forensic audit of CAF.’‘
Ahmad, was recently detained by authorities in France, and is also being investigated by FIFA over allegations that he unduly influenced a CAF decision to to buy sportswear through a French company rather than directly from manufacturers and at inflated prices.
FIFA’s pursuit of a clean image
With FIFA seeking to improve football’s image, the Ahmad controversy has come as major embarrassment to Infantino, who has been claiming a new-look, clean and corruption-free FIFA.
Ahmad, by virtue of his position as leader of African football, is automatically a FIFA vice president.
African football has been rocked not only by the firing of CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy for whistle blowing, but also a walk off in the Champions League final and the alleged assault on a referee by another of CAF’s vice presidents.
The Cup of Nations kicks off in Cairo on Friday when hosts Egypt take on Zimbabwe.