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Hayatou, Infantino, Motsepe… investigating the scandals of the Confederation of African Football

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: AFCON: Plagued by scandals

By Georges Dougueli, special correspondent in Yaoundé
Posted on Monday, 10 January 2022 14:02, updated on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 11:38

Failures, nepotism, wars of influence… The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has been plagued by scandal. The latest: a chaotic situation surrounding television rights, which has damaged African football.

This is part 1 of a 3-part investigative series

Slumped in an armchair at the back of his barely lit office, Issa Hayatou does not get up to welcome his visitors, nor does he shake their hands. In this almost deserted building in the heart of Yaounde, there is a gloomy atmosphere, accentuated by the hollowed features of his emaciated face. It is one of the hallmarks of the disease that is weakening him.

The deposed emperor of African football carries the weight of his 75 years, but also of a tenacious grudge. He has neither forgotten nor forgiven what “they” did to him. Even less so the ultimate humiliation inflicted on him last August by the Ethics Committee of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), he, honorary president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which he led for nearly thirty years (1988-2017), is now suspended until August 2022 from all football-related activities.

The new leaders of world football probably did not want to meet him in January in the lounges of the Yaoundé stadium, where the Cameroonian authorities would inevitably have invited him for the opening of the African Cup of Nations (CAN), on 9 January.

He was fired from “his” own CAN due to the accusations stacking up against him. He is accused of having breached the rules of competition by signing a contract with Lagardère Sports, and of not having informed some members of the executive committee of CAF of the renewal of this collaboration with the French group, partner of the institution since 2008.

“When I left CAF, there were more than 133 million euros in cash reserves. Go and ask my replacements today how the finances are going,” Issa Hayatou says bitterly.

Also in this in Depth:

Motsepe’s CAF: The new kings and fallen princes of African football

Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Véron Mosengo-Omba, Ahmad Ahmad, Issa Hayatou... Who are the winners and losers of the shake-up of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since the election of its new boss, Patrice Motsepe?

CAF: Véron Mosengo-Omba FIFA’s point man in Africa

FIFA has never been so attentive to African football as in recent years. Involved from near and afar in many projects, the body - headed by Gianni Infantino - is influencing the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Its principal ally: Véron Mosengo-Omba, secretary general of the confederation.