Hayatou set to win new term unopposed after 25 years as CAF president

Mr. Hayatou is by far, the longest-serving CAF president.

African football strongman, Issa Hayatou, is set to clinch a new term as the president of the Confederation of African Football, at an election he is contesting unopposed.

CAF’s 35th General Assembly entered the second day Sunday, in Marrakech, Morocco, with the election of the confederation’s officials, including the president.

Incumbent president, Mr. Hayatou, first elected to the post also in Morocco 25 years ago, is sure to retain the presidency, because he is the only candidate.

The Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS), based in Switzerland paved the way for Mr. Hayatou to be returned unopposed after ruling last week that his possible opponent, Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire, was not eligible to contest.

CAS ruled on Tuesday that the CAF Executive Committee had jurisdiction to refuse Mr. Anouma’s candidature.

It added that CAF Statutes adopted in September 2012 were applicable in assessing the validity of the candidates in the presidential election.

The ruling also said that Mr. Anouma did not meet these criteria because he had never been a member of the CAF Executive Committee.

Mr. Hayatou’s prolonged stay at the helms of African football has continued to stir discontent in the continent’s football community, but Mr. Hayatou, a Cameroonian, has hardly faced quality opposition.

Under his rule, CAF constitution has repeatedly been amended to allow him new terms, and unopposed elections, more like the typical African political leaders.

Last year, CAF confirmed that the 66-year old Mr. Hayatou will be unchallenged for re-election.

This followed a controversial amendment that was made to the confederation’s statutes last September, when member nations voted to introduce a measure that will permit only executive committee officials to run for the organization’s presidency.

Mr. Hayatou, who has said this will be his last contest for the CAF presidency, is the fifth CAF president and by far the longest serving.

His predecessors are Ethiopian Ydnekatchew Tessema, who served 15 years, Egyptian Abdel Aziz Moustafa (10 years), Sudanese Abdel Halim Mohammad (5 years) and Egyptian Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem (1 year).

Apart from the election into the CAF presidency, there will be elections for four executive committee positions, while Algerian Mohamed Raouraoua and Sudanese Magdi Sham El Din have been returned unopposed.

The CAF general assembly opened on Saturday with a colourful ceremony depicting the diversity of the African continent.

Declaring the congress open, Mr. Hayatou said Morocco held special memories because the North African country hosted the congress at which he was elected president for the very first time.

He said the country had been a great, willing and constant supporter of African football for a long time.

Among those who attended the opening were the presidents of the 54 national associations and FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Mr. Blatter hailed Mr. Hayatou’s leadership of African football over the last quarter of a century, saying African football has become world famous and made commendable strides during this period.

He also commended Morocco for the continued development of its football infrastructure and recent launching of professional league.

“As a result, Morocco will become the first African nation to host FIFA World Club Cup in December this year and that is in recognition of the enormous work Morocco, through the guidance and leadership of King Mohamed VI, has undertaken,” Mr. Blatter said.



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