November 29- Issa Hayatou, former President of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), has launched a scathing attack on the huge fine imposed on him by an Egyptian court over a broadcasting deal for Africa’s football governing body, insisting the decision was politically motivated.
Hayatou and his one-time secretary general Hicham El Amrani – the man who led Morocco’s unsuccessful bid for the 2026 World Cup – have been fined $27.9 million each by the Egyptian Economic Court which ruled that the pair flouted local Egyptian law when signing a billion-dollar deal between CAF and French media company Lagardere in 2015.
Following a two-year legal process, the EEC ruled on Monday that Hayatou and Amrani violated the country’s competition law by granting exclusive broadcasting and sponsorship rights to a single company, claiming it was done without a tender.
Hayatou says he and El Amrani will fight the ruling “to put an end to this intolerable defamation and repeated attacks on my honour.”
“This verdict is quite grotesque and has no justification in that it constitutes a flagrant disregard for the facts of the case and for the provisions of Egyptian and international competition law.”
“There is no doubt from the beginning that this case has been initiated with a clear political agenda and for the benefit of certain individuals, in an attempt to damage my reputation and that of the former general secretary.”
The deal gives Lagardere rights to a variety of African football competitions, including the flagship Africa Cup of Nations.
With CAF based in Cairo, Egyptian authorities maintain it is governed by local laws yet bizarrely didn’t impose any sanctions on the governing body itself.
“The decision of the Economic Court to condemn us while clearing Caf is in flagrant violation … of the Egyptian Competition Law, the individuals concerned and the entity represented being legally inseparable and jointly liable,” said Hayatou who ran CAF for 29 years until being ousted in 2017 elections by Ahmad Ahmad.
“Mr El Amrani and I have, at all times, and in particular in relation to the agreement with Lagardere Sports, acted ex-officio and as mandated by the CAF Executive Committee, as evidenced by the successive deliberations and minutes,” he added.
A statement issued by Lagardere Sports also condemned the verdict.
“Upon reviewing the judgment, it is clear that it contains both material factual errors as well as fundamental misapplication of basic competition laws,” the statement read.
“Our own legal advice with regard to our contract has remained clear and unequivocal and we continue to work with CAF in accordance with our contract to support the development of African football.”
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