By Oluwole Francis
President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou is being investigated by Egyptian prosecutors who are investigating him over allegedly abusing his position.
The main factor of investigation is a deal involving the award of the broadcast rights to several African football tournaments to a media company, Lagardere Sports.
According to the Egyptian Competition Authority, Hayatou is suspected of not opening up the tender to free and fair competition as required by Egyptian law.
CAF is based in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, so the authorities say CAF must follow their laws. African football’s governing body had not yet responded to the latest development. The 70-year-old football administrator is currently in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, ahead of Thursday’s CAF annual awards. Hayatou was elected as CAF president in 1998 and is serving his seventh term in office.
French Lagardere Group signed a long-term agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to get the exclusive marketing rights of African competitions, beating off sudden competition from Egypt’s Presentation Advertising Agency.
Presentation initially tabled a $600 million offer before upping its bid to $750 million in an attempt to lure Lagardere into selling to them the television rights of African competitions in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Champions League and the African Cup of Nations.
However, Lagardere did not respond to repeated offers from Presentation, prompting the Egyptian agency to turn its attention to competing with Lagardere itself in buying all the marketing rights from CAF.
However, CAF announced that Lagardere had extended its partnership with the African governing body to 2028.
“The contract, which will last until 2028, was signed in the presence of CAF president Issa Hayatou and the French company’s chairman,” CAF said on Twitter.
Presentation had protested that she will “knock every door and follow legal ways to defend the rights of African football and our rights”.
“We have officially offered to CAF a deal of $1 billion and two hundred American dollars to commercialise their rights over the same period that they have received from their agency, with an additional two hundred million dollars to the current offer they have,” Presentation said in a lengthy statement, released in Arabic and English
“In both cases of acquiring the rights for the media rights of the MENA region or for the CAF rights, we are open to bid in a clean and transparent tender that would only serve our cause and serve the African football.”
Presentation, which is co-owned by Egyptian businessman Ahmed Abou Hashima, still seeks to buy the CAF television rights but it will face another stiff competition from Qatari-owned network beIN Sports.
Presentation has already bought the domestic television rights of Egypt’s leading clubs, including Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek, as well as the Egyptian national team.