It was close to 2.00am in some parts of the World when a letter from FIFA President Gianni Infantino was delivered into the email of members of the FIFA Bureau.
The timing, as narrated by UEFA President Aleksandr Ceferin in his response to the said letter, was suspicious when viewed against the backdrop of the self-imposed deadline for a response in the said FIFA letter.
The FIFA Bureau comprises the Presidents of the six (6) football confederations, whose individual member Football Associations (FAs) compose the membership of FIFA and therefore its top organ, the FIFA Congress.
The Bureau members include the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), The South American Football Confederations (CONMEBOL) and The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
According to FIFA, the Bureau should ideally “deal with matters requiring immediate settlement between two meetings of the FIFA Council” which therefore allows the Bureau to function as some form of “Emergency Committee”.
The structure of FIFA also means that the Presidents of the Confederations become automatic Vice-Presidents to the FIFA Council.
It is to this FIFA Bureau (the one that makes critical emergency decisions in-between meetings of the larger FIFA Council) that Gianni Infantino wrote that early morning, informing them of a decision/proposal for the “hostile takeover” of the Confederation of African Football, in a tripartite agreement already made between himself, CAF President Ahmad and FIFAs own Senegalese-born Secretary General – Fatma Samoura.
The letter, dated 20th June 2019 expected an approval of this decision (taken privately by the trio Infantino, Ahmad and Fatma) within a few hours, with a set deadline of 10.30am CET.
Infantino, then attempts to massage the FIFA statutes into this decision by citing several FIFA and CAF statutes in the letter.
However, two things stand out in all of this, the first being that CAF (as a confederation) is not a member of FIFA, and therefore enjoys no voting or other rights within the organization.
The second, being that the crisis and challenges being attributed to CAF are not some form of force majeure, rather they were the deliberate acts of omission and commission by the President of CAF Ahmad.
For instance, his arrest by the French Police for economic and fiscal crimes on 6th June 2019 in Paris was as a result of his active role in the money-laundering of CAF funds through the French economic system via a company by the name TACTICAL STEEL.
The matter before the FIFA Ethics committee involved not only the financial misappropriation of CAF funds, but also some deeply sickening crimes like using his position to sexually harass, assault and proposition female employees and outside contractors of CAF.
Clearly, Infantino likely manipulated the FIFA Bureau into passing this FIFA-CAF cooperation agreement to supersede the expectations of any rational human being, that CAF President Ahmad would resign and allow the processes to run their natural course.
In his response to Infantino dated the same 20th June 2019, UEFA President Ceferein expressed his dismay at the ridiculously short notice given to Presidents of Confederations to approve this proposal, and decried the mis-use of the FIFA Bureau to rubber-stamp some ill-conceived and poorly thought-out proposals (like this one).
Ceferein continues, and wonders aloud why the FIFA letter was not accompanied by an official (signed) resolution of the relevant CAF body, requesting such assistance. His fears were well justified, because we have since come to confirm that the entire caper was concocted by the trio Infantino-Ahmad-Samoura privately, and executed to rope in the CAF and FIFA bodies after the fact.
Ceferin was also joined by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter in calling into the question the oft-repeated lie that the “hostile takeover” was buttressed by relevant statutes in both FIFA and CAF.
Most critically, Ceferin questioned the apparent conflict of interest that was evident by the choice of Fatma Samoura to take up the role of a “General Delegate” in CAF while also retaining her position in CAF.
We have since come to learn that the Infantino-Ahmad-Samoura triumvirate came into existence on 13th November 2015 at the Stade Municipal De Mahamasina in Antananarivo, Madgascar, during a FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Senegal and Madagascar.
Apparently, with Samoura having been the resident UNDP representative in that Island Nation for 6 years (2010 – 2016) she has had a close and intimate relationship with Ahmad, who then held the influential cabinet portfolio of Minister for Fisheries in the country.
Insiders inform us that this intimate relationship could also have been consummated over a business partnership that involved Ahmad (Minister),Samoura, and Mauritius FA President and latest addition to the CAF ExCo, Sameer Sobha.
The business involved depriving the locals licences to sell their fish directly to exporters, and this trio acquiring these licenses, which turned them into middlemen for unscrupulous Chinese buyers.
It is impossible to sufficiently draw a picture here of just how massive the fishing industry in Madagascar, and its impact to the entire economy.
On that November 2015, Infantino was desperate for the African vote, because his competitor for the FIFA seat, the Bahraini Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, was all over him like a wet t-shirt.
Africa would have to be his swing vote, despite the fact he had zero chemistry with then CAF President Issa Hayatou.
He had been assured that Ahmad was his guy.
Ahmad at the time was actually quite chaffed to be hosting Infantino and he already had an eye on the CAF Presidency for the election in March 2017.
It was at this meeting and the subsequent hangout that the idea was mooted for Fatma to take over s FIFA SG in return for a concerted vote effort. And that is how it came to pass.
Ceferin is right in so many ways, but most crucially that Fatma is not an honest broker in this “hostile takeover” and will likely use her position to shield CAF President Ahmad by burying all the evidence against him.
The question remains, why would the FIFA Bureau of the Council allow itself to be misused by Infantino and Ahmad in such a crude and crass manner? Where is the self-respect and dignity of the individual members of this Bureau, to refuse to become mere rubber-stamps for such decision.
We reported here, the tribulations of Swiss AG/Prosecutor Micheal Lauber who was last week forced to recuse himself (alongside his 2 deputies) from the FIFA scandals investigation, following revelations by the European consortium of investigative journalists, that Lauber had had at least 3 undocumented meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The office of the Swiss AG dealing with these scandals has this morning released a press statement with regards to on-going criminal action with regards to German FA (DFB).
The Swiss AG has filed a criminal indictment against 4 former DFB officials; Franz Beckenbauer, Horst Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach plus the Swiss former FIFA Exco official Urs Linsi.
The indictments relate to misleading the fraudulently misled the members of a supervisory body of the DFB organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany (OC WC 2006) in April 2005 about the true purpose of a payment of around EUR 6.7 million.
Apparently in 2002, Franz Beckenbauer accepted a personal loan of slightly over CHF 10 million from a Robert Loius-Dreyfus. This money was transferred through a Swiss law firm to a Qatari company belonging to FIFA Exco and FIFA Finance committee member Mohammed Bin Hamman.
A request by the Swiss AG to Qatari authorities for mutual legal assistance in determining how these funds were further disbursed has gone unanswered for several years now.
In his defence, Franz Beckenbauer stated that the money was requested by Bin Hamman in return for the discretionary grant of CHF 250 million to the DFC World Cup Organising Committee. In essence, Bin Hamman was asking for a kick-back from the DFB, in order to smooth things over with his Exco colleagues, and expedite the payment of the much larger amount.
The DFB apparently also refused to pay such a kick-back which left Beckenbauer with no choice than to take a personal loan, in return for a binding assurance in May 2002 that they FIFA grant would be paid.
Between 2003 and 2005, Franz Beckenbauer, Horst Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach comprised the four-man presidential board of the OC WC 2006. At the time, Urs Linsi was the secretary general of FIFA and thus the primary contact partner for the presidential board of the OC WC 2006.
It was in 2003 that Robert Louis-Dreyfus contacted the Presidential Board of the OC WC 2006 directly seeking the repayment of “Beckenbauers debt” (CHF 10 Million) which he had defaulted on.
The 5 men, aware that neither the Presidential Board nor the OC WC 2006 would accept to pay such a sum o money from its accounts, therefore on 8th April 2005, lied to the supervisory board of the OC WC 2006 that this money was payment to FIFA and a contribution towards the joint funding by the DFB or the OC WC 2006 of the FIFA opening ceremony for the 2006 World Cup.
You see, this amount of CHF 6.7 million was passed through from the OC WC 2006 bank accounts, through FIFA bank accounts and paid to Dreyfus.
So now the Swiss AG has sought to separate the criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer from the other 4 on grounds of ill-health, which make it impossible at this time to be cross-examined by the Federal Criminal Court.
This case is a synopsis of the generally accepted bribery for FIFA World Cup hosting rights during the 1990s and 2000s, right through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Another African contender for this type of indictment can only be South Africa, who it is alleged paid out the sum of $ 10 million to members of the FIFA Exco, in exchange for the votes for the hosting rights to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Dr. Danny Jordaan, current South Africa FA (SAFA) President and then CEO of the SA 2010 LOC, was also the CEO of the SA 2010 Bid committee and therefore would have been complicit in the dispersal of the $10 million bribe.
FIFA itself reports that then FIFA Exco member Jack Warner, used his son Daryan as a go-between for the $10 million pay-off.
FIFA brought all these issues to light in 2016, soon after Infatino ascended to the helm of the disgraced World Governing body of football –FIFA. Infantino at the time was demanding a refund of more than $100 million from the US Government, monies recovered from the indicted former FIFA officials, which included the bribes from South Africa.
In South Africa, both the Police and the office of Prosecutor had opted (in an adrenalin rush of patriotism) not to pursue this matter further, which therefore protected the executors from criminal culpability.
What about the FIFA Ethics committee, you might ask? They would have been the natural default position for these matters and they had the mandate to take action against all the officials implicated in the bribery scandal.