FIFA takes charge of CAF - Africa's governing body - on eve of Africa Cup of Nations
Last Updated: 20/06/19 12:49pm
In an unprecedented move on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations, FIFA has stepped in to temporarily govern African football and accelerate the clean-up process.
FIFA has placed secretary general Fatma Samoura in a new role running the sport's governing body in Africa. As FIFA General Delegate for Africa for an initial six-month period, Samoura will lead what is being described as a "full forensic audit" of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The remarkable intervention by FIFA President Gianni Infantino into one of the six regional confederations was reportedly opposed by UEFA leader Aleksander Ceferin over concerns about conflicts of interests with Samoura remaining FIFA secretary general in name, and the lack of time given to grant approval.
The decision is being portrayed by FIFA as having the backing of CAF President Ahmad, who is mired in allegations of personal and financial impropriety.
The Madagascan was taken in for questioning by French authorities while attending a FIFA meeting in Paris two weeks ago.
Ahmad, was released without being charged but he is under a FIFA ethics investigation while remaining a vice-president of the organisation. He denies allegations of wrongdoing..
FIFA said Samoura, who is from Senegal, "will be assisted by a group of experts who will work in a spirit of partnership with President Ahmad" while overseeing CAF operations, including governance and administrative procedures, and competitions.
The move was announced following an emergency meeting on the eve of the African Cup of Nations opening in Cairo, with Egypt playing Zimbabwe on Friday.
FIFA said it wants to "bring stability, serenity, professionalism and effective football development on the African continent where the passion for football is so prevalent."
FIFA claims Ahmad backed Samoura's appointment to "conclusively accelerate the implementation of the ongoing reform process destined to ensure that CAF functions with transparency, efficiency while abiding to the highest governance standards."
Infantino provided details of Samoura's proposed role in a letter early Thursday to the Bureau of the FIFA Council, which features the regional confederation leaders who serve as vice-presidents of the global governing body.
While Samoura would retain her position of secretary general, Infantino told members of the FIFA Bureau that she "will delegate her functions within the FIFA administration in accordance with the relevant internal regulations."
Samoura, who became FIFA's first ever female secretary general in 2016, could see her role extended beyond the six months with the approval of FIFA and CAF.