It is now November, and “zero hour” for the case filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) by Liberian Musa Hassan Bility against the hastily cobbled together and poorly conceptualized CAF-FIFA agreement.
This unprecedented agreement gave FIFA the mandate to take-over the management and running of African football following the historic arrest of CAF President Ahmad Ahmad in Paris by officers from the French Anti-corruption unit on 5th June 2019.
The arrest followed a complaint by global sportswear giant PUMA over the manner in which Ahmad terminated an order that had previously been awarded to them in December 2017 for the 2018 CHAN, then somehow awarded it to their friends at a shadowy company by the name Tactical Steel at 400% of the initial quoted value.
To compound the incredulity of the situation, employees of CAF had reported their boss and CAF President Ahmad of serious breaches of the FIFA Ethics code, including bribery and sexual harassment/assault of female employees and outside contractors.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has personally intervened to ensure that none of the Ethics complaints against Ahmad will take-off while expediting those of detractors to the CAF-FIFA lunacy.
Musa Hassan Bility knows this only too well, when he was slapped with a 10-year ban from all football activities by the FIFA Ethics committee in July, a day after he had filed for arbitration at CAS against the unprocedural hostile takeover of CAF from its elected leadership in the 23-man CAF Executive committee (Exco).
Every right thinking person in football wonders what is so special about Africa that FIFA had to send its African SG Fatma Samoura to Cairo to manage CAF affairs when the most advisable course of action would have been to suspend Ahmad Ahmad and allow the Exco to exercise its mandate as per statute.
Since then, the World has come to find out about the unholy alliance that exists between FIFA boss Infantino, CAF Supremo Ahmad and SG Fatma (who doubles up as Ahmad’s lover since her days as UNDP head in Madagascar).
FIFA as an organization is in peril and its future highly insecure considering that the employment of senior technocrats seems based purely on nepotism, and nothing to do with merit.
How Ahmad convinced Infantino to employ his lover Fatma to such a high office confounds even the most liberal football thinkers in Europe.
Forget the rubbish peddled continuously by misguided CAF supporters that Fatma came to the job suitably qualified by dint of having served in the UN system.
The scenario expands to include Morocco FA President Fouzi Lekjaa, who in slightly more than 2 years has bankrupted CAF while holding the reins of the CAF Finance committee.
The greatest fear among African football officials is that FIFA is currently doing a silent forensic audit of the financial affairs of CAF by using their own auditors from Zurich in the name of PWC and who answer solely to FIFA.
This cosmetic audit will be used to regularize the books of CAF by way of financial wizardry and abracadabra, and even if CAF is eventually handed back to its owners, they will receive an organization with zero financial reserves and books already completely sanitized by FIFA.
African FA Presidents who all have audit queries on how they have (mis)used FIFA Forward grants, will not utter a word of complaint for real fear that Infatino will equally use the FIFA Ethics as a hammer that will fall on their necks like the blade of the guillotine on King Louis XVI during the French revolution.
Remember that former CAF President Issa Hayatou left a healthy bank balance in excess of USD 100 million, which has been devoured by the insatiable bellies of Fouzi Lekjaa and Ahmad Ahmad.
Cheering them on both wildly and mindlessly has been Lagadere Africa boss Idriss Akki who doesn’t mind joining Ahmad and his closest consorts to Mecca on the Umrah, while behind closed doors, FIFA lawyers pore over the so-called “cast iron contract” between Lagadere and CAF with a view to finding a clause that can trigger its implosion and termination.
That right there is how you waltz your way out of a job…!!!
The only way that both CAF and FIFA can be saved from imminent danger of self-harm is the arbitration sought by Musa Hassan Bility at the CAS and which was due to start this month.
A panel of arbitrators has been identified and agreed upon, and in fact, preliminary issues have been dispensed with. For instance, FIFA enjoined itself in the matter despite a precedence where FIFA never involves itself in matters especially those not involving its direct members.
A point of note is that CAF is not a direct member of FIFA, and neither too are UEFA, AFC, CONMEBOL or CONCACAF.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin foresaw the dangerous path on which Gianni Infantino had set Confederations on with direct meddling of their independence and wrote a long letter on his objections to this meddling.
The heads of the other Confederations, sat through this objection with the calmness and bliss of ignorance, unaware of the likelihood of its ever coming back to bite them in the arse.
Musa Hassan Bility made the appeal at CAS against the deficient decision of the CAF, signed at the CAF General Assembly and communicated to the public the 18 July 2019.
Immediately the appeal had been filed, Bility had requested CAF to provide various documents, in the main, the much-touted agreement between CAF and FIFA. Surely, can there be an agreement of such magnitude without a signed agreement between the parties and setting out the rights and obligations of each?
Bility made the strong assertion that the decision for the CAF-FIFA hostile takeover was actually made by the CAF President, executed at the CAF General Assembly that was held 18 July 2019, without the ratification or endorsement of either the CAF ExCo or the CAF General Assembly.
To compound the problem even more, it would appear that Ahmad and Infantino ambushed the CAF ExCo with the proposal to bring Fatma on as a General Delegate, and despite obvious opposition to this plan from various members of the CAF ExCo, Ahmad did not bother to put the matter to a vote.
This modus operandii was repeated at the General Assembly, where this decision was never brought to the floor procedurally to warrant a decision that would be binding on the members of African football.
CAF statutes set out clearly the procedure for giving notice and what can be discussed at the Ordinary General Assembly (OGA). For instance, it states that the notice for the OGA MUST be circulated to all members at least 120 days prior to the date of the OGA.
Audited accounts MUST also be produced and circulated to all voting members of CAF at least 30-days prior to the date of the OGA.
The audited accounts element of the OGA is absolutely critical to its members and in the last OGA in Cairo, Finance Committee Chairman Fouzi Lekjaa hoodwinked members by presenting the unaudited accounts and subsequent years budget to members in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation.
It was at this impromptu discussion of the financial health of CAF that Lekjaa mentioned in passing that CAF had come from a surplus situation to a USD 6 million deficit and that CAF had squandered over USD 100m that had been left behind by Hayatou.
In 2017, Lekjaa had approved the bribing of FA Presidents with a USD 20,000 annual stipend from the CAF accounts straight into their personal bank accounts, which then gave Lekjaa and Ahmad carte blanche to raid the accounts of CAF with impunity and without fear that any FA President would raise the alarm.
CAF President Ahmad then casually told the General Assembly that it had been decided that FIFA takeover the affairs of CAF and impose its SG Fatma Samoura as the head of CAF affairs in Cairo.
There was never a call for a vote of the OGA to ratify this decision!
So the appeal at CAF is very straight-forward, that an illegal assembly of FA Presidents was held in Cairo, in the presence of FIFA President Infantino where a decision for the takeover of CAF was illegally consummated.
Bilitys’ legal team selected Jeffrey G. Benz to the panel of arbitrators and proposed a panel of 3 arbitrators.
Benz is an accomplished arbitrator and mediator and a former General Counsel of the United States Olympic Committee himself a former athlete. Benz has acted as a neutral or counsel in a wide variety of sports, including, among others, ice hockey, gymnastics, speed-skating, figure skating, football and soccer, rugby, track and field, team handball, equestrian, table tennis, triathlon, wrestling, tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, boxing, cycling, sailing, and complex disputes and transactions involving sponsorships, film financings and production, technology, licensing, and live events.
Born in the US, he earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees at the University of Michigan and his law degree at the University of Texas, and is admitted as a member of the bar of the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, and New York, and a variety of United States federal courts. Jeff also attended a semester at the Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and started his professional career as an intern in Lloyd’s Claims Office in London.
Benz’s UK, and European, practice is devoted primarily to acting as mediator and arbitrator. He is a CEDR-accredited mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and he is a principal mediator and arbitrator with the Agency for Dispute Resolution in Los Angeles.
These credentials are extremely critical when looking at any arbitration involving FIFA and particularly Gianni Infantino, whose preferred method is the influence of institutions. It will be remembered that he caused the AG for Switzerland Michael Lauber to be ordered by a Swiss court to recuse himself from all FIFA related investigations after it was discovered that he had three undocumented and unauthorized meetings with Infantino, ostensibly to influence the outcomes of these cases.
It will be remembered that early in the year when Infantino ambushed his own Bureau of the FIFA Council with a proposal to take over the running of affairs of CAF, Aleksander Ceferin wrote back urgently calling out just how irregular this maneuver really was.
Ceferin asked quite pointedly for the documentation from CAF where the Exco supposedly requested the intervention of FIFA (minutes). Infantino prevaricated on the issue until he got a small critical mass of Confederation Presidents to pass the issue without the benefit of process and documents.
At CAS, the Bility legal team appears to have sought the intervention of the CAS President in compelling FIFA to produce the much-talked about agreement that set out the rights and obligations of the parties to the CAF-FIFA takeover.
FIFA responded as expected by objecting to being compelled to table such an agreement, instead postulating that the CAF-FIFA roadmap that had been tabled at the CAF Exco meetings and illegal General Assembly is in actual fact a binding document on the parties!
Now apparently, FIFA has once more sought a further delay on the commencement of the arbitration. In the meantime, Fatma continues to irretrievably run the affairs of CAF and enter into serious commercial deals without reference to the CAF Exco that was elected specifically to run the day-to-day affairs of CAF.
For instance, Fatma Samoura compelled African FA Presidents to sign away their broadcast and commercial rights to all FIFA World Cup qualifiers until 2023 (after the World Cup in Qatar).
Now rumors abound about a plan to eject Lagadere from their current 12-year contract, at whatever cost and under the pretext that the contract is grossly undervalued.
Yet the CAF Exco had in 2017 set up a mini-committee to renegotiate the terms of the contract with Lagadere, that had all the CAF heavy-hitters including Fouzi Lekjaa and Constant Omari.
The sub-committee met with Lagadere a couple of times then allowed the issue to fizzle off. The only plausible explanation to this gross dereliction of duty is that these members of CAF were bribed to ignore their mandate.
Now they stand aside and watch bemusedly as FIFA takes Lagadere to the guillotine. Truly, there is no honor among thieves
We here at www.fifacolonialism.com are back after a well-deserved break, ready to tackle the next phase of ever evolving issues at CAF.
Our readers have continuously asked a single consistent question in their feedback to us, why do you bother to fight?
Obviously disillusioned by the vice-like grip of Infantino on African FA Presidents and their irredeemably corrupt nature, they wonder how our modest though brave efforts will ultimately help to alter such a huge tide of self-hate by these Africans FA Presidents.
Our response to them is equally consistent and based on the dialogue of our favorite JRR Tolkien movie – The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring – between Gandalf the Grey and the Hobbit Frodo Baggins in the mines of Moria.
Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
And so, this battle has fallen to us and several other African patriots to fight, and confront the dark powers of Infantino and the sleepless malice of the over-sexed midget Ahmad and his minions Fouzi Lejkaa and Constant Omari.
We can live with losing the good fight, but we cannot live with not having fought it…!