FIFA Council member Mamoutou Touré has been re-elected unopposed as Malian Football Federation (Femafoot) President, despite being detained on charges of embezzling public funds, after three other candidates were deemed ineligible to stand.
Touré, also known as Bavieux, has been jailed awaiting trial after being accused of infringing public state property and forgery between 2013 and 2019 during his time as a financial and administrative director in the Malian National Assembly.
He and four others are alleged to have embezzled $28 million (£22 million/€26 million) in state funds.
All deny the charges.
Mamoutou Touré received 61 of the 63 votes at the Femafoot Extraordinary General Assembly after he was the only one of the four candidates who passed an eligibility test ©Femafoot
Despite the ongoing case, Touré was the only one of the four candidates who passed an eligibility test.
Former Femafoot spokesperson Salaha Baby was initially cleared to stand, but an appeal from Touré against this was upheld which allowed him to secure unopposed re-election with 61 votes from 63 cast at the International Conference Centre of Bamako.
There was one abstention and one vote against Touré.
Touré was first elected as Femafoot President in 2019, and his fresh four-year term runs through to 2027.
Mali’s Sports Minister Abdoul Kassim Ibrahim Fomba had written to outgoing FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura of Senegal earlier this month expressing concern over the electoral process.
Observers from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA attended the Extraordinary General Assembly to oversee the elections.
Observers from the CAF and FIFA attended the Femafoot Extraordinary General Assembly in Bamako ©Femafoot
The 66-year-old Touré is also a member of the CAF Executive Committee and FIFA Council.
FIFA Council membership provides an annual salary of $250,000 (£198,000/€230,000) plus expenses.
The BBC has reported an audit of Femafoot’s finances of 2022 by the Pyramis group showed the national governing body did not pay any taxes to the Malian state from deductions from staff salaries, nearly $50,000 (£39,600/€46,000) was awarded to “other parties” without a reason or approval from the Femafoot Board, and no financial report has been provided to the Femafoot General Assembly for the last three years.
Femafoot claimed Touré’s plans for his renewed four-year term include construction of infrastructure, reorganising local competitions and upgrading subsidies to local football bodies under its umbrella.
insidethegames has asked FIFA for a comment on Touré re-election.
Femafoot was suspended for six weeks by FIFA in 2017 for Government interference.
Mali has never qualified for the men’s or Women’s World Cup.
It is set to compete in the men’s Olympic football tournament at Paris 2024 for the first time since Athens 2004 after finishing third at the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations.
Following Touré’s arrest, Femafoot insisted “the presumption of innocence which must at all times benefit any accused person” should apply and claimed it had been “fuelled by his opponents”.
A military council led by Colonel Assimi Goïta seized power in Mali in August 2020, and he has served as Interim President since May 2021.
There are concerns over a lack of opposition in Mali and widespread jihadist insurgency in the north and east of the country.