By Paul Nicholson
July 13 – FIFA has wriggled out of responsibility to enable it to continue to support an unelected president of a national federation, claiming it is not the “competent” authority to enforce the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that Tombi A Roko Sidiki is unlawfully holding the position of Cameroon FA (Fecafoot) president.
The position taken by Jaime Cambreleng Contreras who is the head of FIFA’s disciplinary department was communicated to the Etoile Filante club in Cameroon who had filed complaint against FIFA president Gianni Infantino and general secretary Fatma Samoura that the CAS decision had not been implemented.
FIFA’s response is that there can be no complaint as it is not their place to implement this CAS decision as, in this case, national law (there is an appeal taking place in Cameroon) overrides FIFA law – a remarkable decision on the running of a member association by the governing body that makes great worldwide capital of being free of political interference. It is a decision that could come back to haunt them, at the very least on an integrity and credibility level.
Contreras argued: “FIFA is not a forum for the execution of decisions taken by the CAS in the course of an appeal procedure against a prima facie decision at national level, that is to say, without any organ of the FIFA is implied. Indeed, according to the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, is solely competent to hear cases of non-compliance with the decisions of a body, commission or body of FIFA, or by a subsequent decision of the CAS on appeal.”
It is a convenient circumvention for FIFA which again opens itself to yet more accusations of manipulation in African federations by its executive officers. This time the charge is that the FIFA executive is using its own Disciplinary Procedures to keep in place a Cameroon president sympathetic to the requirements of the FIFA executive and its president.
While it again raises uncomfortable questions about the ‘real-world’ integrity of FIFA’s disciplinary process and its executive officers, it also raises questions about the credibility of CAS. FIFA very rarely loses at CAS (only once in the past year according to Insideworldfootball records), and it seems when there is a decision they would appear to be obliged to act on, they choose not to.
While FIFA have chosen to hide in a what is a legal grey area in terms of “competent authority”, the Etoile Filante club and its president Abdouraman Hamadou Babba, have responded with “astonishment” to FIFA’s position.
Babba in his written response to Cambrelang says that FIFA is choosing to ignore Article 14.1 of its own statutes that stipulates FIFA has “the obligation to observe at all times the rules, directives and decisions of CAS.”
He also reminds him of previous correspondence to Fecafoot from FIFA head of legal Marco Villiger and former head of disciplinary Marc Cavaliero, instructing them that they need to “take the measures to execute the decision of CAS”.
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