A critical mass of African FA Presidents have started to understand and appreciate the importance and magnitude of the case filed by Musa Hassan Bility at the Court for Arbitration in Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A general malaise and fatigue of CAF President Ahmad Ahmad has started to creep into the fabric of the African football family, mainly because he has displayed his total lack of character and spine in the series of events that led to his capitulation to FIFA, where he handed the entire organization over, in order to cover his tracks and likely complete his term of office.
Worse, African FA Presidents are incensed that Ahmad would throw one of them to the dogs simply because he disagreed with a chosen course of action, in this case, the 10-year FIFA ban on Bility by the FIFA Ethics committee which was orchestrated by Ahmad through FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Whilst most would hardly raise their voices for the fear of real victimization, they all feel a deep sense of betrayal and justifiable comparison with former CAF President Issa Hayatou,with most of them of the opinion that Hayatou would never have thrown Bility under the bus in this way, no matter the disagreement.
Another gripe that is slowly gnawing away at the FA Presidents is the overall dominance of Morocco and the “Muslim brotherhood” in CAF, that had seen a skewed and disproportionate allotment of resources and positions to Moroccan nationals and the preferential treatment that is accorded exclusively to the FA Presidents who profess the Islamic faith, to the detriment of all others.
The Moroccan invasion is clearly seen with the installation of dentist Mouad Hajji as the GS of CAF to replace the sacked predecessor Amr Fahmy.
Within the standing committees of CAF, Morocco apparently holds in excess of 10 seats which is disproportionately high, while some FAs barely have one slot. Morocco (and Madagascar) therefore hold the most number of allocation of seats within CAF and therefore best able to influence football policy in their favor for the foreseeable future.
Amr Fahmy, in a dossier lodged with FIFA Ethics committee highlighted the Moroccan and Malagasy invasion of CAF and the exclusion of all other Nations in the process.
Only now, have the African FA Presidents began to understand the full extent of looting of CAF with the brazen alacrity that had never been witnessed hitherto.
What irks the silent majority of FA Presidents is that while the inner circle (or kitchen cabinet) of CAF has misappropriated millions of dollars for themselves, they have in turn only been placated with an annual personal grant of $20,000 and occasional trips where they are handed the obligatory brown envelope.
While none of the African FA Presidents had expected that Ahmad and his motley crew were angels who were immune to occasionally dipping their fingers into the honey jar, none of them had contended that these guys would bring the entire house down in the process.
They expected that Ahmad and his sidekick Moroccan Fouzi Lekjaa would work intelligently (like Hayatou) to keep CAF afloat and “in the swim” in such a way that CAF continues being their collective goose that lays the golden egg.
In the COSAFA region, the angst among the FA Presidents is even more personal because of being slighted by Ahmad in 2018 during the election of a replacement FIFA Council member.
Despite their open and transparent vote to indicate their preference for South African Danny Jordaan, Ahmad literally told them to their faces to “fuck off” because his personal preference was the little known and underwhelming Walter Nyamilandu from Malawi.
The clear message from Ahmad to COSAFA FA Presidents was that he was the one who chose who took which position in African football…wasn’t he paying them $20,000 annually as a retainer for that decision-making ability anyway?
Dr. Danny Jordaan eventually capitulated as well and swore allegiance to Ahmad, who then hoisted him onto the position of CAF 3rd Vice President last July in Cairo and in the process earned Jordaan the derogatory apartheid-era moniker of a turn-coat and sellout of “impimpi”…
All these incremental mis-steps and miscalculations by Ahmad are quietly boiling beneath the surface like molten lava beneath a volcano.
Clandestinely, La Résistance within CAF is now alive and thriving underneath the assured cockiness of Ahmad and his inner circle, who remain contemptuous of its existence.
In order to help Musa Hassan Bility fund the uber-expensive dual cases at the CAS (the 10-year FIFA ban and the CAF-FIFA hostile takeover), this resistance despite modest means has managed to rally and marshal quite some financial resources for the CAS cases.
Last week, the CAS rejected some of the preliminary applications by FIFA and CAF, specifically the request for them to split the case between the parties.
Remember that, quite uncharacteristically, FIFA enjoined itself in this case that had initially been filed by Bility against only CAF.
Simultaneously, CAS has asked both CAF and FIFA to file their responses to the matter filed by Bility within 14 days (by Friday 20th December 2019).
Interestingly, FIFA and CAF have been asked to file formally their position regarding Bility’s request for production of some documents.
You may remember that Bility had specifically made one of the preliminary prayers to CAS to compel CAF and FIFA to produce the signed and approved (by CAF Exco & CAF General Assembly) agreement for the cooperation (hostile takeover) which would set out the scope and rights/obligations of each of the parties.
Remember also, that the letter from UEFA President Aleksandr Ceferin to FIFA President Infantino asked him (Infantino) to table or circulate the agreement or signed minutes of CAF Exco that approved the hostile takeover.
The first impulse by both CAF and FIFA was to file responses to CAS giving a myriad of the silliest legal responses as to why such a document did not exist before the hostile takeover commenced.
We postulate that the only reason this document was the subject of such ignorant oversight was because FIFA and CAF both felt confident that either, no one had the temerity to challenge the matter before the CAS or that FIFA had CAS process completely buttoned up and in his pocket.
This case is going to be a water-shed moment for the CAS to extricate its reputation from association with the manipulations of Infantino and FIFA, moreso because CAS CEO Mathieu Reeb was in Africa two weeks ago for an arbitration conference sponsored by FIFA, in Nairobi –Kenya.
The coincidence for such a convergence is troubling, considering the claims of manipulation and interference Infantino has been accused of in FIFA related cases. For instance, Swiss AG Michael Lauber was forced by the courts to recuse himself and two of his deputies from all the FIFA –related investigations and cases following a discovery by authorities that the two men had 3 undocumented and secret meetings during the subsistence of the cases in Swiss courts.
A reading of the filings so far put before the CAS by the parties,and even with a rudimentary understanding of the law, shows that Bility has a supremely competent case with a likely positive outcome.
The ramifications of such a ruling would be earth-shaking to say the least, especially with regards to decisions taken during the illegally convened CAF Ordinary General Assembly.
To those FA Presidents who may have sold their souls to Ahmad and his misguided clique of sycophants and ball-lickers, many years from now, lying in their death-beds, yet their children or grandchildren not able to play any meaningful football in Africa despite loving the game, these men and women will regret not having fought the good fight when they had a chance…
To quote Theodore Parker;
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice”.