FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura has been appointed general delegate for Africa for six months starting August 1 as part of ongoing reforms within African football’s governing body.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and its president Ahmad Ahmad have been in the spotlight after recent governance issues, while he was questioned as part of an inquiry into corruption, breach of trust and forgery in France earlier this month.
He was later released without charge and has dismissed the allegations as “false”. Ahmad proposed the idea of seeking FIFA’s expertise to help assess CAF’s current situation and speed up reforms plans aimed at ensuring the organisation operates with “transparency and efficiency”.
The notion was unanimously approved by CAF’s executive committee, and Samoura and a group of experts will work in tandem with Ahmad and his team to cover a number of areas, in an agreement that can be renewed with the agreement of both parties.
These areas include overseeing operational management of CAF, ensuring the “efficient and professional organisation of all CAF competitions”, and supporting the growth and development of football in all African regions.
Samoura will remain as secretary general of FIFA but will delegate her functions within the administration, according to a joint statement from FIFA and CAF.
However, the arrangement struck between CAF and FIFA over Samoura was strongly criticised by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who said he could not “for the time being approve the detailed proposal”.
His response cast a chill over Ahmad’s comments hours earlier after the Malagasy administrator hailed the collaboration, saying: “There’s nothing than having FIFA come and see what’s going on inside CAF.”
Ceferin, a member of the FIFA council, wrote in a letter seen by AFP that the appointment “raises a large number of questions and in particular the likelihood conflict of interests”.
“It is inconceivable to send a letter in the middle of the night (received at 1:50 this morning) and expect a response from me by 10:30 the same day. I am always prepared to help, but the FIFA bureau of the council must not be reduced to a mere rubber stamp function,” he wrote.
“Never in the history of our institutions has the secretary general been placed on secondment to take control of a confederation, even with the latter’s consent. You must understand that this is not the type of decision to be taken lightly and in haste.”
CAF vice-president Constant Omari told AFP Ceferin’s reaction was overblown. “(FIFA president) Gianni Infantino hasn’t been elected to develop one continent to the detriment of another.
When CAF makes a request, it is hard to see how FIFA cannot play its role. It’s a logical accompaniment.” “One can’t act like that when a good thing is done. We are in charge of our actions,” he added, while defending the choice of Senegal’s Samoura. “It would have been shocking if it had been a European or a South American.
To put the reforms into practice, one has to know the context. She is African, she knows how to smooth the rough edges and to encourage discussion.”
Ceferin’s Letter to FIFA President