African football is not independent, too much external influence: Ex-CAF boss

Ahmad Ahmad has claimed that FIFA has to much influence in the affairs of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and controls the continental football body for strategic reasons.

The former CAF president took charge of the African confederation in 2017, prior to his 2020 suspension for breaching various FIFA ethics codes.

In an interview with BBC Africa, the 63-year-old suggested the continent is controlled by FIFA presidents for electoral reasons.

The confederation has 54 members and thus 54 votes – just one less than Europe’s UEFA, the next biggest confederation.

These African votes (out of a possible 211) are strategically important to the hopes of incumbent or aspiring FIFA presidents.

“It’s for electoral reasons in relation to UEFA which they can’t control,” said Ahmad.

“FIFA’s agenda is to have Africa in full with them because they know the majority of Africans are always going to follow FIFA instructions.”

Ahmad says he only ran for the CAF presidency after being persuaded by Gianni Infantino himself, with Issa Hayatou’s decision to vote against the Swiss-Italian in the 2016 FIFA elections having created “irreconcilable differences” between the pair.

“Gianni wanted a candidate to eliminate Hayatou – everybody knew that,” claimed Ahmad. “Gianni convinced me to do it.”

The Malagasy official further claimed that his dismissal from CAF was a similar case with that of Hayatou after he refused to extend FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura’s time working as the ‘general delegate for Africa’ in Cairo.

“Fatma really helped but in six months we had what we wanted so did not extend the mission, but it angered the people of FIFA – Gianni was angry,” said Ahmad.

“Upon leaving the meeting, some Fifa people were telling my colleagues that I had signed my death warrant. What is a death warrant in football? It is surely to use the ethics committee, the lethal weapon they were using at the time.”


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