By Andrew Warshaw
November 13 – Musa Bility, the banned former Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee member and ex-president of the Liberian FA, has written an open letter to CAF presidential candidate Patrice Motsepe warning him “to be wary” of Gianni Infantino’s influence in the election process.
Using typically flamboyant language that has been a hallmark of his time in football politics, Bility lays bare the dysfunctional nature of CAF which, he claims, “has laboured under the weight of ineptitude, borderline racism, a colonial mindset and the itchy fingers of its successive leaders over decades.”
Bility, who is currently serving a 10-year ban after he was found guilty of misappropriating FIFA funds, offering and accepting gifts and other benefits and conflicts of interest, refused to support FIFA taking over the affairs of CAF for six months last year following a series of scandals which saw FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura installed as ‘FIFA General Delegate for Africa’.
Three months ago, he issued a hat-trick of hard-hitting letters, the last of which was to the FIFA Council demanding they force Infantino to stand down following the opening of a criminal investigation against him by the Swiss judiciary.
Bility has consistently questioned the integrity of Infantino’s political motivation and in his letter to Motsepe, who he is supporting to take over from Ahmad Ahmad in March next year, he leaves no stone unturned in pouring scorn on Ahmad’s tenure which, he claims, was aided and abetted by the Fifa president.
Under the subject heading: “RE: CAF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION – YOU MUST BE WARY OF FIFA & ITS PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO,” Bility warns Motsepe to beware of what he describes as “dark forces”.
“You will be seeking to take over at helm of CAF following the chaotic one-term of an incumbent who dangerously bungled the administration of the organization, having been given carte blanche to do so by FIFA President Gianni Infantino,” he writes.
“There is a misconception in Africa that anyone seeking the CAF Presidency MUST have the express sanction and permission of FIFA and its President. This is in large part due to the fact that candidates have to undergo an Integrity test by the FIFA Ethics committee.
“In Africa, the FIFA integrity test has been brazenly traded for blind, unwavering loyalty by Gianni Infantino, which is how the current CAF President remains in high office despite credible and serious allegations of misconduct and crime during his tenure.”
Bility has appealed his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and used his rant-filled missive to Motsepe to try and shift the blame.
“Drawing from my own experience, everything was fine as long as I mindlessly voted according to FIFA dictates,” he wrote.
“Needless to say, at the point where I started to question the loss and transfer of several hundred thousand dollars of my then FA’s grants from CAF to a shadowy Polish art gallery, I was a marked man.
“By the time I took a stand against the re-colonization of CAF by FIFA through the infamous “hostile takeover” of August 2019, the Personal aide to Infantino had already pulled me aside to warn me that I faced the resuscitation of a dead-rubber ethics case, and which was quickly activated by the co-dependent FIFA Ethics committee and which led to my current 10-year ban.”
“Both the current CAF office and FIFA have badly mishandled the commercial prospects of the organization and its ability to stand on its own two feet.
“For instance, at the insistence of FIFA, CAF withdrew from a $1 billion, 12-year commercial deal with French agency Lagardere Sports & Entertainment, based on the speculative fiction peddled by Gianni Infantino that Chinese agency Dalian Wanda would acquire these commercial rights at double or triple the rate.
“Ditto, FIFA forced all African FAs to sign over their broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers beginning 2019 and running all the way to 2023. In sum, things at CAF are very bad and individual FAs now almost entirely rely on FIFA grants, a fact that underscores just how beholden their Presidents really are to Gianni Infantino.”
Motsepe, who faces challenges from three Francophone rivals including the present incumbent, would be the first English mother tongue CAF leader if he wins.
But that, Bility claims, would be something of a miracle.
In wishing the South African businessman luck, he concludes: “The decks are already stacked against you because voting in CAF is organized along the lines of religion, language and skin colour.”
“From these divisions we have groups like the “Muslim brotherhood” and the “Francophone caucus”. The Anglophones are a deeply divided lot and it would take a miracle and deft political hand to marshal them to your side.”
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