It has been decided, Frenchman Michel Platini will be the next FIFA President to take over from the current holder, Swiss-Italian Gianni Infantino.
Platini had previously been hamstrung by a FIFA ban from all footballing activity which will dramatically come to an end next month. The ban originated from the FIFA Ethics committee which dealt with the matter of a $2 million payment from FIFA and that later came to be referred to as a “disloyal payment”.
The initial sanction by the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics committee was 8 years ban from all footballing activity, which was subsequently reduced to 6 years upon appeal, before settling at 4 years when the matter was adjudicated at the court of last resort – the Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS).
The normally calm and placid Platini has uncharacteristically lashed out at the CAS for its skewed ruling which appeared to have been engineered specifically to keep him ineligible to make a comeback for the top FIFA seat.
Already, the Swiss AG who was handling this matter, Micheal Lauber, and two of his deputies have been compelled by the Swiss courts to recuse themselves from all FIFA investigations and prosecutions after it was discovered that they had had three (3) undocumented meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infatino.
Efforts to conjure up further transgressions from the past in a bid to further delay the inevitable, have been duly noted, case in point the recent arrest of Platini by French Police over a FIFA triggered complaint about corruption surrounding the award of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.
Most worryingly for the African Continent has been the realization that some critical arbitrations before the CAS may have been interfered with by FIFA. These cases have been filed by former Liberian FA President Musa Hassan Bility, contesting the opaque agreement which allowed FIFA to take over the management and commercial properties of the African Confederation (CAF).
Gianni Infantino engineered this hostile takeover despite the protestations of some of his previously solid supporters UEFA and in the process, he further alienated himself from his base, hoping that in the new epoch he would be able to build himself a new support and voting base.
This new voter base would presumably be premised exclusively of the 54 voters from the African continent where the FA Presidents are easily malleable to bribery or blackmail due to their propensity for looting FIFA grants.
This is also where Infantino also made 2 grevious errors. The first being that the Swiss were never a colonial power and therefore (unlike the French and English) they never really understood the African psyche.
Infantino has been operating on the old script of stereotypes when dealing with African FAs, the old carrot and stick approach that he heard makes Africans toe the line like Safari Ants.
The 2nd part of the error has to do with Infantino’s part-Italian heritage and the Italian colonial misadventures in Africa. It was at the famed battle of Adowa where the Ethiopians defeated Italy in the most decisive battle. From then onwards Italy gave up its delusions of grandeur for Africa.
Infantino has absolutely zero knowledge of the African mind other than that which he is fed by pseudo-Africans Fatma Samoura and Ahmad Ahmad, which is largely geared for their own benefit.
Which is why he was shocked when his attempts to blackmail, buy and intimidate Musa Hassan Bility through personal aide Mattias Grafstrom were rebuffed openly. In fact, Bility literally turned around and told him “vafanculo”
The major confederations have quietly been watching as Infantino has been led by the nose like a prize bull by both Ahmad and Fatma in this African disaster. Majority know that an impartial CAS would kick FIFA out of Africa so fast that its head would only stop spinning when they arrived back in Zurich.
They wonder, why is Infantino expending so much political and financial capital in his version of a colonial misadventure in Africa, when it would have been easier to eject Ahmad and leave CAF in the hands of capable leadership?
However, there is also major disquiet among the European members of FIFA after Infantino attempted to sell off new and ill-thought out competitions (involving them) to a consortium fronted by Softbank, which carries in its belly, the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Fund.
Both the Europeans and Infantino himself are alive to the fact that Africa carries a significant number of swing votes that could determine where these rights are sold. The UEFA members still hold one ace though, the option of “voting with their feet” and pulling away from all FIFA competitions should Infantino continue to use the corrupt African votes to bulldoze his warped ideas.
And so, just like in the 3rd instalment of JRR Tolkiens epic –The Lord of the Rings : “The Return of the King” Infantino is considered simply as the steward of FIFA Presidency, much like Denethorwas a mere steward to the throne of Gondor.
There is absolutely nothing Infantino can do now to impede Platini, and so it is, just as Gandalf the white barked at Denethor, “it is not given to you to deny the return of the King!”.
It is in Africa however, where Infantino is having a most devastating effect on the running of football.
More than any other FIFA President, Infantino spends an inordinate amount of time on the African continent, hobnobbing with his ally and disgraced CAF President Ahmad Ahmad.
It is clear that the position of Ahmad Ahmad as CAF President is no longer tenable based on the number of self-inflicted mortal wounds he has currently. The most critical being the ongoing investigation by the French anti-corruption police who abruptly arrested him on 5th June 2019 in Paris.
The French were interested in interviewing him about his association with a shadowy company called Tactical Steel and its owners who seemed to have a close intimate relationship with Ahmad PA Loic Gerand.
It is this relationship that made Ahmad order the cancelation of an order for sports goods from PUMA in December 2017 and arbitrarily awarded to TACTICAL STEEL who then inflated the costs of the equipment by over 200%.
In all, over $3 million was paid out of CAF coffers to Tactical steel through a string of even more shadowy companies that have left an audit trail that is visible all the way from the International Space Station.
The other mortal wound Ahmad has inflicted upon himself relates to formal complaints made to the FIFA Ethics committee by former senior employees about his signing off on financial pilferage and the sexual harassment of female employees of CAF.
One of the authors of the dossier that was sent to FIFA, former CAF GS Amr Fahmy, was recently at the French anti-corruption police unit to record a statement.
Members of Ahmads entourage have attempted to rubbish the picture that Fahmy took outside the French Anti-corruption police station as just another tourist selfie. However we are reliably informed that despite France being the top tourist destination in the World, the police do not allow such flippancy around their premises.
It is this statement by Fahmy however that has caused the French police to expand their enquiries into FIFA and its officers and committees.
Initial disbelief from the French has been how FIFA SG Fatma Samoura took the complaints dossier sent by Fahmy and failed to forward it to the Ethics committee investigatory chamber for an entire 3 months. It appears that Fatma only released the Fahmy dossier on 5th June 2019 when the entire World received the shocking news of Ahmad’s arrest and interrogation.
The French are very interested to find out if Fatma was an accessory to the theft and laundering of CAF money through French companies and why she went out of her way to inhibit internal FIFA processes investigating the Tactical steel matter.
This new angle has thrown a spanner into the works for Infantino who had initially planned that FIFA SG Fatma Samoura would seamlessly take over from Ahmad as CAF President for the remainder of his term.
However, the French police investigation and probable arrest has complicated matters for Fatma, especially since it would appear independent enquiries are now being made in Madagascar regarding her close personal and business relationship with Ahmad since her days as head of the UNDP mission there.
Infantino, the inveterate schemer has already set his eyes on the immediate successor to the CAF seat and he has fingered AUGUSTIN SENGHOR.
Senghor is the current FA President of the Senegal FA and favored to step up to the plate when Ahmad is forced by his own proclivities to cede the CAF Presidency.
Senghor has been the Senegalese FA President since 2009 and before that the Mayor of the island of Goree in Senegal from 2002. Goree is mostly associated with the Atlantic slave trade between the 15th and 18th Century and the infamous “House of Slaves”.
A lawyer by profession, Senghor has practiced since 1990, specializing in conveyancing, banking and maritime law. He has also been involved in sports arbitration at the CAS since 2012.
Senghor is also the current President of the WAFU-UFOA “Zone A” the West African zonal union of FAs.
Obviously this choice has started to raise very many concerns and old resentments of how FIFA misuses and splits Africa to do its bidding.
For instance, the elevation of Senghor will mark the continued dominance of francophone countries in CAF affairs, to the detriment of the Arabic and Anglophone leaders.
Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian former CAF President (himself a francophone) ruled the roost for a staggering 29 years before his ouster in 2017. His successor, the Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad Darw is also a Francophone, thereby extending the dominance of French-speakers in CAF affairs to the exclusion of all others.
Ahmad underscored this disparity in July when he reshuffled his Exco by removing the Anglophone Amaju Pinnick (Nigeria) as his 1st Vice President and replacing him with Fouzi Lekjaa (Morocco-Francophone) as 1st VP and Constant Omari (DRC – Francophone) as 2nd VP to ensure that the kitchen cabinet meetings can be held exclusively in the colonial French language.
The unconstitutional and bogus position of CAF 3rd was given to the overly grateful and groveling South African turncoat, Dr Danny Jordaan. This represents the sole Anglophone near the kitchen cabinet.
All the strong Anglophones in CAF appear to have cannibalized themselves out of contention through self-inflicted mortal wounds. Former Ghana FA President and CAF 1st VP Kwesi Nyantakyi was banned by FIFA when a video surfaced of him receiving $65,000 from fake Saudi Sheikhs to sign away Ghanaian football rights.
His replacement Amaju Pinnick seems to have touched a Buffalo’s nether parts at home where 2 anti-corruption agencies are hounding him with legal cases.
CAF, in a veritable coup de grace replied to one of those agencies and denied Pinnick’s claims that over $500,000 was channeled through CAF accounts, an explanation given by Pinnick in an attempt to explain where millions of dollars of Nigerian football funds may have evaporated to.
Honestly, majority of the other Anglophones have a serious deficit of gravitas bordering on being clowns in a circus. Most are colorless sheep who seem happy to be prodded in whichever direction the bearer of brown envelopes points.
It is generally accepted that the dark era of CAF President Ahmad is at an end and African football awaits with bated breath, the outcome of the CAS Arbitration in the Musa Bility case hoping to revert the destiny of the African game to Africans.
Ahmad, in a last ditch Kamikaze move was happy to sell off CAF to FIFA in the hope that this would buy him cover for his own indiscretions. The World does not really work that simply, he should know.
Is Ahmad really the schemer that his entourage attempt to make him out to be?
Has he placed African football in an unassailable pole position, from whence it will begin to challenge UEFA and CONMEBOL football in a decade?
Clearly he has not, and if the reading of the CAF accounts by the snake oil salesman Fouzi Lekjaa at the CAF General Assembly in July is anything to go by, Ahmad and his accomplices (Lekjaa, Omari, Loic, Mouad Hajji and Samoura) have really dug African football into a deep financial and administrative pit.
Is Augustin Senghor, the CAF President of choice for Gianni Infantino, the man with the necessary tools to excavate African football out of this pit and drain the swamp?