Issa Hayatou appears poised to be re-elected as president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Sunday after the latest attempt to prevent him having a free run at the position was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The CAF election process has proved a contentious one in African football circles following a controversial amendment to the Confederation’s statutes in September. CAF member nations voted to introduce a measure that permits only executive committee officials to run for the organisation’s presidency. The measure was announced at the CAF Congress in the Seychelles and seemingly put paid to officials such as Jacques Anouma’s hopes of running against Hayatou at the Confederation’s general assembly in Morocco this weekend. Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) president Anouma formalised his intention to run for the presidency in July, but the new CAF rule stipulates that anyone seeking the presidency must be a voting member of the CAF executive committee. Anouma is a member of CAF’s executive committee only because he serves as one of the continent’s representatives on FIFA’s Executive Committee. As such he does not have any voting rights in CAF matters.
The change in CAF’s statutes has triggered four appeals to CAS, chiefly by Anouma himself who has previously stated that African football cannot continue to be “run like a fiefdom controlled by a village chief.” The Liberia Football Association has also taken action, but CAS on Tuesday seemingly issued a definitive ruling on the matter. The Court said in a statement: “The CAS has confirmed that the CAF Executive Committee had jurisdiction to refuse the candidature of Jacques Anouma, that the CAF Statutes adopted in September 2012 were applicable in assessing the validity of the candidates in the presidential election and that Jacques Anouma did not meet these criteria because he had never been a member the CAF Executive Committee.”
Hayatou, 66, has led African football since 1987 and is now set for another four-year term in office. The Cameroonian has previously said that he will leave the position after this time.