No Contradiction In FIFA’s Barring Of CAF Candidates

Ahead of the 45th Ordinary Congress of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the organisation has disclosed the candidates for positions that are to be filled at the conference.

Names of candidates for the 17 positions have been confirmed.

There is certainly nothing out of the ordinary about the release of the names of the aspiring men and women for the congress set for the Swiss traditional resort town of Montreux on April 20.

What must be highlighted is the individuals that would automatically qualify for Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) roles by virtue of their election in Switzerland must undergo the requisite eligibility check to be conducted by the world governing body’s Review Committee.

The committee informs the respective confederation and the candidates on the outcome of the tests.

On offer in Montreux at the UEFA Congress would be seats for the FIFA vice-president’s position reserved for the four British associations (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) as well as for five ordinary members’ positions on the FIFA Council, including at least one female.

All the 18 candidates, a majority of them standing for re-election, have meanwhile passed the requisite eligibility check carried out by the UEFA Governance and Compliance Committee.

This is line with the Article 21(6) of the UEFA Statutes and Article 4bis of the Regulations Governing the Implementation of the UEFA Statutes.

Regarding the eligibility checks for the elections posts that would qualify the European officials for positions at FIFA, these checks are a prerequisite all of FIFA’s affiliates.

Besides UEFA, FIFA’s 211-member associations fall under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

To reiterate, according to statutes, the confederations elect members for the FIFA Council. The presidents of the respective confederations are automatically FIFA vice presidents.

The upcoming election CAF is organising to elect a new leadership begs the explanation.

Among positions to be filled is the presidency, following the controversy around Ahmad Ahmad.

With the winner of the presidential poll set for March 12 in Rabat, Morocco automatically becoming the FIFA vice president, FIFA’s Review Committee recently ran eligibility checks for all candidates vying for the presidency.

The same committee thus running the rule of the UEFA candidates, cleared CAF aspirants, namely Ivorian Jacques Anouma, South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania.

Therefore, there was nothing peculiar with the FIFA Review Committee conducting the suitability checks on the CAF candidates.

It is a norm at the global football governing since it embarked on reforms to avoid financial and election scandals that rocked it in the past decade.

Among other checks are past criminal convictions and disciplinary sanctions, ongoing legal proceedings, ensure political neutrality and prevention of any form of government interference as well as curbing potential conflicts of interest.

It is here that the issue of Constant Omari, the Congolese interim president of the CAF after Ahmad was suspended for alleged financial misconduct, comes in.

Omari was before Ahmad’s suspension the first vice president of CAF.

Hence, according to CAF statutes, if the president vacates office, was the case when Ahmad was banned by FIFA, Omari took over.

There was therefore no need for an eligibility test in November 2020 when he assumed office on an interim basis.

Thus, an eligibility test became necessary now that he wanted to retain his seat on FIFA’s Council. He held the position since 2015.

At the end of last month, FIFA announced Omari had failed an integrity and eligibility check and was barred from seeking reelection.

He is reportedly under probe from suspected financial irregularities relating to CAF commercial contracts under Ahmad’s besieged reign.

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This, therefore, quashes speculation of contradiction on FIFA’s part regarding eligibility checks.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago