August 5 – FIFA’s secretary general Fatma Samoura has officially started her reforming mission at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) despite strong opposition from within sections of African football’s hierarchy.
Last month, FIFA took the novel step of appointing Samoura as ‘FIFA General Delegate for Africa’ to supervise CAF affairs for six months starting from August following a spate of mismanagement issues, many of them involving CAF chief Ahmad Ahmad.
Samoura will be involved in CAF’s governance overhaul as well as spearhead a forensic audit of the body between August 1 and 31 January 2020 but FIFA has never, in its 115-year history, intervened in the day-to-day affairs of any of its confederations which are independent, not members of FIFA and only accountable to their own national member associations.
Musa Bility, who was recently banned by FIFA’s ethics committee, has described Samoura’s intervention as a “hostile takeover” with “the sole purpose of shielding and cleansing CAF President Ahmad Ahmad from the crimes he has committed – financial impropriety, sexual harassment, and nepotism.”
In a statement on her first day in her new trouble-shooting role, Samoura, who is from Senegal, promised that “together we will serve all African Association Members and bring stability, serenity, professionalism and effective football development to our continent, where passion for football is so prevalent.”
“I will work in with CAF for next six months to support development of football throughout Africa, while ensuring good governance, efficient and effective organisation of competitions, and transparency,” she explained.
Early in June, Ahmad was detained by French police and questioned over corruption allegations regarding a sportswear deal between CAF and a French company before being released hours later. He has also been widely accused of sexual harassment, allegations he denies.
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