Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hayatou's Ousting Needed for a Cleaner CAF

Willie Nemarimela

African football fans short-changed by current CAF leadership.
In North Africa and the Middle East there have been protest marches, which have led to violent clashes in parts, to oust dictators who have been in power for two decades or more and there are news reports that fighting in Libya has led to the death of Muammar Qaddafi. I think it’s time Cairo had another round of protests – this time outside the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as Issa Hayatou is leading this organisation with an iron fist and doesn’t want to step down despite being in power since 1978. Just like many who rule for a long period of time he's had to avoid much criticism.

Hayatou has resisted change despite the various controversies that have followed CAF under his leadership with the latest of these being the centralisation of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and marketing rights as the sole owner of these is Italian company B4, associated to the French’s Lagardere Sport and its subsidiary Sportfive. The African football governing body faced much criticism from the media and citizens of the football loving continent as the rights essentially cost 23 million US dollars and Sportfive can demand huge amounts from African television stations in order for them to screen various matches. These demands have already started and some Africans will miss their countries’ matches on television as local stations struggle to pay the fees. It’s just bizarre that an African football association would give rights to a foreign company that has shown no interests of the continent’s people watching their favourite sport.

Formed in February 1957 CAF has had six presidents with Hayatou being the longest serving. There are six regions under CAF and they are UNAF for North Africa, WAFU-UFOA for West Africa, UNIFFAC in Central Africa, CECAFA in the East, COSAFA in Southern Africa, UAFA for the Arab regions. Apart from the African Cup of Nations, CAF also administers three male and female club competitions with the biggest. It would be interesting to find out how much say other CAF members have as it seems to be Hayatou and possibly his inner circle making decisions.

Hayatou is also alleged to have taken 1,5 million US dollars in order to vote for Qatar as the 2022 FIFA world cup hosts. Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast has accused of the same as well. If this is true then the men are showing the corruption many in Africa have been fighting against which has led to the collapse of several dictatorships on the continent.

If for nothing else then Hayatou should step down for the love of the game he represents as African footballers want to see a clean chapter starting in the ruling of what was ‘the beautiful game’.

No comments:

Post a Comment