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Caf reforms long overdue

Saturday July 20 2019

EDITORIAL
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Ongoing reforms at the Confederation of African Football (Caf) are long overdue. The agency, which runs football in Africa, has been affected by problems ranging from poor working relations among top officials, shaky administration of football and impropriety.

To begin with, Caf has appeared unable to decisively deal with the fallout from the bungled Caf Champions League final match between Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca and Tunisia’s Esperence on June 1.

NEUTRAL VENUE

The first leg having ended 1-1 in Morocco, Wydad Casablanca walked out of the pitch in protest when their equaliser goal was disallowed in the second leg. Esperance were leading 1-0 in the second leg at the time, and 2-1 in aggregate.

Wydad Casablanca players wanted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to check if the goal should stand but the VAR system was not working. Esperance were eventually declared champions in a controversial manner but were later ordered to return the trophy and their winners’ medals.

But Caf’s order for a replay of the second leg at a neutral venue did not go down well with the teams. Both teams have lodged appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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SCRUTINY

Caf’s leadership, particularly the conduct of its president Ahmad, is coming under increasing scrutiny. Ahmad has been accused of irregularly awarding contracts at Caf and financial impropriety. He is under investigation by the French authority and Fifa’s anti-ethics committee.

On Thursday, Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick was dismissed from his role as Caf vice-president and replaced by South Africa’s Danny Jordaan during Caf’s General Assembly in Cairo.

These challenges have forced the world football governing body Fifa to second its secretary-general Fatma Samoura to Caf as General Delegate for Africa, essentially to restore order.

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