By Andrew Warshaw
February 4 – The increasingly fractious leadership of the Confederation of African Football under Ahmad Ahmad has been dealt yet another internal blow with former Liberian FA chief Musa Bility resigning from two senior positions within CAF.
In a letter to Ahmad and members of CAF’s Executive Committee, Bility said he was standing down as a member of the Emergency Committee and president of the CHAN (African Nations Championship) Standing Committees “with sadness and a huge sense of disappointment” saying the organization risked becoming the “subject of ridicule around the world.”
The rule of Ahmad, who ended veteran Issa Hayatou’s 29-year reign as African football boss in 2017, has prompted widespread division throughout the Continent, not least over his haphazard decisions with regard to the next three editions of the African Nations Cup which has caused confusion and resentment in equal measure.
“I believe we are worse than we were two years ago,” Bility wrote. “Our situation is such that today the president has demonstrated brazen disregard for the Executive Committee but chooses to run CAF with close associates he feels comfortable around and carries a certain degree of respect for.”
Bility said he was not invited to the last meeting of CAF’s emergency committee after going public with concerns about the 2021 edition of the African Nations Cup being handed to Cameroon after it was stripped of this summer’s hosting. He says Ahmad has forgotten who got him to the presidency in the first place.
“Unfortunately, he has simply forgotten that it took men and women of courage who toiled days and nights, throwing everything into the rings to ensure that he emerges as President. I just cannot hold back any longer as this may lead to bigger problems in the near future. I can no longer summon the courage to work in these posts at the whims and caprices of the President who I believe is heading this Noble Organization in the wrong direction.”
Bility said he hopes his resignations “will serve as a wake-up call for us to stand firm and ensure that CAF is managed properly in accordance with the statutes in order to bring real change to African football.”
Tellingly, however, Bility has decided not to resign from CAF’s all-powerful executive committee, meaning he technically remains half-in and half-out and suggesting his stance is not entirely the noble gesture he would have us believe.
Whilst he may be right to highlight the divisive way CAF is being run, of all the officials to question African football’s leadership, he is hardly the most credible having been blocked from standing for the FIFA leadership in 2016 after failing an integrity check.
Following months of damning stories and rumours surrounding financial corruption under his LFA leadership, Bility stepped down in September last year after choosing not to run for a third term and was succeeded by Mustapha Raji.
Just as Bility was resigning from his two positions, so Raji was breaking his silence over how the federation was struggling to settle the debts of the previous administration which had come under intense scrutiny for allegedly mismanaging development money intended for the country.
FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee is still suspending funding to Liberia until the country gets its house in order and Raji said: “We took over the LFA under restriction from FIFA but we are working to see how we can get over it.”
Yet in his letter, Bility defends his stewardship of the Liberian FA and claimed that monies due to his federation from CAF, to be precise $200,000, were never passed on.
The money, says Bility, was wired by CAF “to an unknown account in Europe” even though it was “designated for the Liberian FA while I was serving as its president.”
“CAF sent it to the account of a firm in Poland that deals in artifacts. CAF claims it received the instruction from the Liberia FA to send the funds to this firm. Of course, this is false and misleading.”
In another part of his hard-hitting resignation letter, Bility makes an equally remarkable claim that FIFA is far better run under Gianni Infantino than CAF is under Ahmad.
“I have been unfairly suspended before,” he said. “I have suffered irreparable reputational damage. I have struggled enough and suffered numerous bashing and character assassination in my quest for fairness in football. It has cost me more than I can bear any longer.
“I have been accused of being without “integrity” by those who brought football to it kneels at both FIFA and CAF.”
“But if I can leave football today knowing that I played a pivotal role in that famous second round victory for Gianni Infantino who, along with his incredible team, has brought so much change and dynamism to FIFA, my battle would never have been in vein.
“FIFA has regained its reputation and is on course to higher heights under the able leadership of the Infantino and his team.”
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