August 30 – The strong man of Mali football, Mamatou Touré, has been re-elected federation president – from a prison cell.
In what was surely one of the most bizarre election processes, the man known as ‘Bavieux’ won a landslide victory at an extraordinary general assembly of the federation (Femafoot) by 61 votes to one, with one abstention.
Toure, a member of the all-powerful FIFA Council, was the only candidate whose file was accepted by the electoral commission, winning another four-year term despite being behind bars for the last three weeks.
He is currently awaiting trial after being accused of embezzling public funds following his arrest earlier this month.
As well as being on the FIFA Council, the 66-year-old, who has led Femafoot since 2019, is also an executive committee member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
He was able to run for re-election as the only one of four candidates to pass an eligibility test – before his indictment on August 9 by the Malian government for “attacking public property as well as forgery and use of forgery and complicity”.
One other candidate, former Femafoot media spokesperson Salaha Baby, initially passed too, but according to the BBC, Toure successfully appealed to rule his rival out of the race.
FIFA have remained conspicuous by their silence over one of their key African powerbrokers.
“Why is no one taking any action? The only candidacy validated is the one of someone actually jailed,” Sekou Diogo Keita, a former vice-president of Femafoot, told the BBC.
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