The president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and first vice-president of CAF, Amaju Pinnick has reacted to the alleged ‘takeover’ of African football ruling body by FIFA. Pinnick urged football fans across the continent to see the new project as a partnership between FIFA and CAF to improve the quality of football across Africa.
CAF had been in the headlines for the wrong reasons in recent weeks following several scandals that have rocked the organization. There was a VAR controversy at the CAF Champions League Final and several allegations of corruption have been levelled against the CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad.
Ahmad was reported in March to FIFA’s ethics committee by CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy, who was then fired. Further allegations of fraud have recently been made against Ahmad, who was detained and questioned by French authorities in June as part of a corruption investigation.
Ahmad has denied wrongdoing in several media interviews but has not responded to repeated requests by Reuters for comment on the specific allegations against him. FIFA has confirmed there is an ethics investigation into Ahmad, although he has not been suspended.
Pinnick speaking with press after a CAF executive committee meeting on Wednesday where members were shown an 11-point plan. “We want to change the narrative from takeover to partnership and collaboration,” he said. “People just feel that they are taking over but it’s not the case. Basically, it’s to strengthen our judicial, our governance and our fiscal discipline…..its pure collaboration.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino also said on Wednesday that the unprecedented move to step in and jointly administer African football with the regional body CAF will “significantly improve” the sport on the continent. Infantino also brushed aside suggestions that there was widespread opposition to the move, which followed corruption allegations against CAF president Ahmad Ahmad.
FIFA is sending its Senegalese secretary general Fatma Samoura on a ninth-month secondment from August to overhaul CAF, which has been plagued by chaos. Suggestions in the plan, seen by Reuters, included possible changes to the format of CAF competitions, a review of refereeing, and a task force to improve stadium security.
Other points included a review of CAF’s judicial bodies, full transparency of money flows and implementation of good governance principles. “What counts is that we decide to cooperate, that the highest FIFA administrator is coming to work with CAF…to improve African football significantly,” Infantino told reporters.
“This is about democracy. We take on board all comments of everyone and together we try to do our best. The only thing I ask is to judge on us on the results and not on speculation.”