BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
More opposition to the re-election of Issa Hayatou as CAF President seems to have emerged as the host country to CAF Secretariat appears to have come up with a noose round the Cameroonian’s neck.
With the CAF election holding this week amidst the toughest opposition Hayatou is facing in 29 years, the Egyptian government are planning charges against the Hayatou-led executive board at the Egyptian Economic Court, Nigeria’s equivalent of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Already, CAF is crying foul over what it referred to as unsubstantiated charges and allegations, especially coming in the days leading to the CAF elections.
In a lengthy 716-word statement issued by CAF and made available to Sports Village Square, the confederation dismissed the charges and allegations presented by the Egyptian Competition Authority which, led to the Public Prosecutor for Financial and Commercial Affairs referring CAF, its President and Secretary General to the Egyptian Economic Court.
According to the statement from CAF, the genesis of the allegation was the renewal of the appointment of Lagardère Sports as marketing and media agency for Africa up to 2028.
CAF statements said the body acted following an extensive period of negotiations.
“A legally binding agreement was signed by the parties in June 2015 and was unanimously approved by the CAF Executive Committee.
“In commercial terms, the deal represented an enormous increase in the revenues guaranteed to CAF for its marketing and media rights, which secures significant and guaranteed funds for the benefit of African football over the next 12 years.
“Further, with an unrivalled track record in delivering African football for over 22 years, Lagardère Sports is also an agency that can deliver and execute CAF’s vast programme of events – including the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship and the African Champions League.”
The deal is reportedly to be $1 billion. But Egypt in January accused CAF of failing to open up the tender to free and fair competition as required under Egyptian law.
It was however speculated that the exclusion of new Egyptian marketing firm, Presentation Advertising Agency which submitted a superior offer could be the reason for the Egyptian government’s action.
But CAF countered this, stating that the Egyptian company’s offer was not only belated, it was also “to acquire outright the marketing and media rights held by CAF, which were never for sale and the very holding of such agency rights”. CAF asserted that it would be in violation of the Egyptian company’s own articles of association.
CAF in its statement claims that the timing of the Egyptian Competition Authority’s media campaign also underlines organisation’s attempt to disrupt and undermine CAF at the time of its presidential elections.