The rules disqualify potential
challengers Danny Jordaan of South Africa and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast.
Mr. Anouma, widely viewed as a strong challenger, had already announced his
candidacy for next year’s CAF presidential election despite not being an elected
member of the soccer body's executive committee. Mr. Anouma, a 58-year old
accountant, enjoys the backing of the government of the Ivory Coast.
Keeping with world soccer tradition in which executives once elected stay in
office for decades, Mr. Hayatou has been running African soccer since 1987.
Critics view the new rules as a bid to keep him in power.
The new rule that amends CAF’s statutes stipulate that “all candidates for
election to the presidency of CAF, in addition to necessary competence, must be
or have been a member of the Executive Committee of CAF.”
The minority of opponents of the amendment have denounced it as out of line with
the winds of change sweeping the continent and the north in particular. It
contrasts starkly with efforts of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to
clean house, eradicate corruption and ensure greater accountability and
transparency as well as investigations into the worst corruption scandal in
world soccer body FIFA's 108-year old history that have already forced the
demise of several senior officials.
Ivory Coast sports minister Philippe Legre described the amendment as a
“political ruse.” Senegal football federation president August Senghor charged
that it was a setback for democracy if the new law was adopted, while former
Cameroon international goalkeeper Joseph Antoine Bell said it was “misleading
and a shame”.
FIFA was last year forced to backtrack on
its appointment of Mr. Hayatou as chairman of the organising committee
of the London Olympics soccer tournament because he was being
investigated by an independent ethics commission of the International
Olympic Committee for corruption. Mr. Hayatou had been accused in a BBC
documentary of accepting kickbacks from sports marketing company ISL.
Mr. Hayatou was reprimanded by the IOC
commission after he admitted receiving payments, which according to
minutes of a 1998 CAF meeting and a 2011 certificate of the group’s
finance director, were used to fund CAF 40th anniversary celebrations.
The commission "noted that the documents produced by the person
concerned, drawn up a long time after receipt of the funds, do not
guarantee that the payments were indeed made into the CAF accounts. It
considers that personally accepting a sum of money in these conditions
constitutes a conflict of interests."
A recent independent auditor’s report of
disgraced soccer official Mohammed Bin Hammam’s financial management of
the AFC said that the Qatari national had used an AFC sundry account
managed according to Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) as a personal account
to pay in 2008 $4,950 for suits for Mr. Hayatou.
Mr. Bin Hammam has been suspended as FIFA
vice president and AFC president on charges of having sought to bribe
Caribbean soccer officials to secure their votes in his failed bid last
year to challenge Sepp Blatter in FIFA presidential elections. Both FIFA
and the AFC are investigating Mr. Bin Hammam.
[James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at
the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang
Technological University in Singapore and author of the blog, The
Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer]