FIFA continues to ride roughshod over Africa and its football confederation (CAF) by applying shocking double-standards in the application of its own rules and regulations. This is not only colonialistic in application, but equally racist when different continents are subjected to selective interpretation of laws and statutes.
Gianni Infantino’s racist attitude can be traced back to his Italian roots, being a native of Sicily. Italy remains one of the last bastions of racism in football, going by recent trials and tribulations of Romelo Lukaku. It is Infantino’s backyard and the fact that they have never been recipients of stern action means that patronage comes from none other than Infantino himself.
On 10th October 2019, FIFA put out press release to the effect that the FIFA Ethics committee Adjudicatory Chamber had entered into a plea-bargain agreement with Moses Magogo, President of the Football Federation of Uganda (FUFA) and newly elected member of the CAF Exco.
The plea bargain was with regard to re-sale of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tickets, in which Magogo admitted to the crime and in return agreed to the following reduced sanction
- A fine of CHF 10,000 and a 2-month suspension from taking part in any and all football-related activity in that period.
Magogo had surprised the World with an announcement that he would be stepping aside from his Presidency, during the 95th FUFA Ordinary Assembly in Adjumani, on September 28th 2019.
Magogo sarcastically told the gathering of Ugandan Football Governors that “the truth will be known and I will be able to bounce back”…
The truth it seems, is that Magogo onward sold FIFA World Cup tickets in 2014 and pocketed the funds, and an investigation into this scandal was launched by the FIFA Ethics committee in mid-2018.
Apparently, a Ugandan MP – Allan Ssewanyana – bought this information to the fore in 2017 and accused Magogo of selling the tickets allocated to Uganda.
The tickets meant for Ugandans were however sold to US-based Howard Schwartz.
Former Botswana FA President Ismail Bhamjee is the best remembered African FA President to get caught up in a ticket sales scandal, for which he was suspended from all football activity for a 4-year period in 2010.
Bhamjee had, in a rush of adrenalin during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, bragged to some guys in a Frankfurt Indian Restaurant that “he was FIFA” and could get them all tickets in short order. He had also claimed to know who would be the next host of the FIFA World Cup.
Upon being dared, he had unwisely invited one fan (an undercover Mail reporter) to his $300-a-night hotel suite. He handed over 12 tickets marked FIFA with a face value of €100 each and pocketed the cash. “They are all Category One [the best seats in the stadium]. You won’t need passports to get in, just say you bought the tickets from Fifa,” Bhamjee had said.
The revelations compelled an enraged then FIFA President Sepp Blatter to eject Bhamjee from the games and back to Botswana, and the scandal caused an acceleration in his fall from grace and eventual forfeiture of all football posts in Africa and at FIFA.
Ugandan Lawyer and long-time football aficionado- Fred Muwema –in a short but widely circulated commentary of the ridiculous FIFA decision points out several things with regards to FIFAs handling of the Magogo case.
First, that the plea bargain is of itself an acknowledgement by Magogo that he engaged in acts of corruption as defined by Art. 27(1), and in so doing “gained a financial or improper advantage in perpetuating a transnational crime”, contrary to the FIFA Code of Ethics.
Second, Muwema avers that plea-bargains are allowed by the FIFA code of Ethics in Art. 67(1), however the same code clearly stipulates in Art. 67(6) that the Adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics committee CANNOT enter into plea agreements with accused persons for sanctions related to bribery and corruption.
“No plea agreement shall be allowed concerning sanctions related to infringements of bribery and corruption, misappropriation and misuse of funds and manipulation of football matches and competitions”…
So, on the one hand the Ethics committee threw the book at Bhamjee in 2010 for his version of ticket sales in Germany, while the 2019 incarnation of the Ethics committee disregards its own statutes, and allows an African FA president a slap on the wrist, with a view to fast-tracking his return to the helm of FUFA and continued stay in the CAF Exco.
This represents another example of the meddling with the work of the FIFA Ethics committee by Gianni Infantino, to wield the FIFA Code of Ethics for political ends.
We saw how the Ethics committee was influenced to give Musa Hassan Bility a 10-year ban from all footballing activity a day after he had filed a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) challenging the mind-boggling decision for a FIFA takeover of CAF in July.
Now a self-confessed corrupt football President Moses Magogo is allowed to plea bargain his corruption despite it not being provided for in the FIFA Statutes so that he can get back to his position as an official lackey and supporter of the hostile takeover of CAF and a docile yes-man in the CAF Exco.
Africa continues to be patronized by FIFA, in the same way you would treat a slow or retarded child, continually giving African FA Presidents free passes for serious crimes and breaches of the code of Ethics as long as they will mindlessly vote and approve the most self-defeating and suicidal decisions at CAF.
Apparently, even the Ugandans are incensed and their belief system of right and wrong rankled by this borderline demonic decision to the extent that the Member of Parliament (MP) who originated the complaint in 2017 has now escalated the matter into the hands of the National investigative body.
On Thursday 17th October 2019, it seems the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) summoned the FUFA CEO Edgar Watson to respond to queries surrounding the 2014 FIFA tickets scandal.
Would a criminal indictment of Moses Magogo by Ugandan authorities be met with the usual draconian reaction by FIFA of a suspension of Uganda from all football activities?
This FIFA train is never late, always on time!
Nowhere else on the continent has the misapplication of FIFA power been most evident than in the sad, and frankly speaking, treason-worthy case of Isha Johansen and Sierra Leone FA (SLFA).
Everyone on the continent remembers with shame and shuddering the recent history of this country and the long civil war which began in 1991 and claimed hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Who can forget the madman Foday Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front whose trademark was to ask a captured civilian to choose between “short sleeve or long sleeve”…a diabolical choice of where they preferred to have their hands severed, at the wrist or at the elbow!
It was also the time that Africa saw for itself the total transmogrification of an entire generation of youngsters into child soldiers, so deadly and devoid of humanity that they committed the worst atrocities against fellow countrymen.
In the blockbuster movie ‘Blood Diamond’, during a shocking amputation scene, one of the rebel soldiers sardonically exclaims, “the Government has said that the future of the country is in your hands, now we cut them off, no hands-no future..”
For the longest time, the amputee football team of Sierra Leone was the sole beacon of hope that the rest of the World saw from an obviously hopeless situation.
Fast forward to today, where stakeholders of SL football have written to FIFA, pointing out the unwieldy situation where the executive led by Isha Johannsen has overstayed in office, 2 years since the end of their tenure.
Isha Johansen presided over a shameful 5-year period wherein there was no (zero) local football activity. All the leagues and competitions had ground to a halt since 2014, first due to the Ebola epidemic and later because Isha was too pig-headed to put the interest of the ordinary SL playing youth above her own and compromise with the football owners (clubs) to resume playing.
When the Government of SL opened criminal proceedings for corruption against Isha, FIFA quickly banned SL from all footballing activities and only reinstated them after she was exonerated by the courts.
Now the clubs request for a FIFA NC coincides with the prolonged departure of Isha’s close ally and confidante Fatma Samoura who had been posted in CAF as General Delegate, in a takeover that had been challenged in CAS.
Apparently, SLFA has neither had an elective congress since 2013 whilst the statutes require an election every 4 years, nor has it set up the judicial bodies of the FA despite the mandate given in 2017.
Did FIFA write to SLFA extending the tenure of Isha Johannesen-led executive indefinitely? Because Isha now operates the SLFA as though FIFA granted her a tenure for life!
Even more worrying is the fact that SLFA has not presented its financials (budgets and audited accounts) since the 2013 elections and members continue to wonder how FIFA disbursed annual grants and FIFA Forward monies to SLFA without these.
In one of the most sinister and globally acknowledged stupid decisions, SLFA has now decided unilaterally to expand the Premier League (PL) from 16 teams to 18 teams, despite the PL being one of the most impoverished on the African continent.
This expansion came as a result of the club-championed and executed PL last season (while SLFA was banned and Isha standing trial for corruption) which turned out to be the best PL in decades.
This successful PL apparently has brought about some hard-ons on SLFA Executive members who now want to select the 2 new teams from a specific section of the country in a blatant show of regionalism and nepotism.
The two clubs, however, were not the top performers in the just concluded 1st Division league. Now SLFA is being challenged on football matters in local courts of law, in the absence of independent judicial bodies.
Fatma Samoura held down Isha Johansen by force in her position as SLFA President, to the detriment of clubs and youth of the country.
The clubs in SL wish to exercise their democratic mandate as per statutes to elect someone of their choice, but FIFA does not want this to happen, ostensibly because they are 100% sure that Isha Johanssen will be ejected by 8.15am.
This time the clubs are ready, they have learnt the hard way how to deal with Isha, she will not use the electoral body to lock out her opponents.
Isha Johanssen has used FIFA as an effective shield to keep a hold on the reins of power at SLFA, and pissed on the capacity of football to help the country turn a corner decisively from its horrific past.
She obviously doesn’t give two fucks.
And neither does FIFA, whose Swiss –Italian President Gianni Infantino comes from a long line of Swiss bankers and Lawyers without the genetic marker for empathy and whose warped minds could rationalize the slaughter of Jews in the Nazi death camps during World War II, and banking the looted Jewish possessions and money in their deep vaults whilst proclaiming neutrality.
During the match between Bulgaria and England in Sofia earlier this week, some very stupid fans made monkey-chants all through the game while others would give the Nazi salute from the crowd at cameras.
Gianni will NEVER make a serious condemnation of this act or take decisive action against the country.
Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov wept live on TV while giving his commentary of the match, at the stupidity of his countrymen, many of whom have no fucking idea about Nazism and what happened in history.
He called on FIFA tortoises to ban his country Bulgaria for over 5 years from all competitions.
But to Gianni Infantino, that is not a vote he can afford to lose.
And that is the tragedy that Africa now has to contend with daily.