Friday,26 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)
Friday,26 April, 2019
Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)

Ahram Weekly

The wrath of CAF

At an eventful meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, the African Football Federation sanctioned Ahly and Zamalek’s president and put on hold Cameroon’s hosting of next year’s Africa Cup of Nations. Abeer Anwar reports


Infantino and Ahmed
Infantino and Ahmed

The Africa Football Federation has come down hard on Egypt, penalising Ahly Club and Zamalek’s always controversial president.

At its meeting in the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, CAF also postponed its decision on whether Cameroon will host the Africa Cup of Nations with its new-24 team format which will be held from 15 June to 13 July 2019.

Ahly will play the next two official matches behind closed doors, without spectators, according to CAF, for “unsporting and offensive behaviour” after Ahly fans hurled insults at the head of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority Turki Al-Sheikh in a recent African Champions League match. Al-Sheikh owns the newly formed Pyramids football team which plays in the Egyptian league.

However, CAF added, the provision is suspended for the remainder of the 2018 season on condition that Ahly are not guilty of a similar offence during this period. The club was also fined $20,000. Also, the club shall immediately and prior to their semi-final match to be played at their stadium on 2 October, hold an educational campaign to ensure that a similar offence is not committed by their supporters.

For verbally abusing CAF President Ahmed Ahmed and Secretary-General Amr Fahmi for not imposing punishment on Ahly fans, Zamalek President Mortada Mansour was banned from performing any kind of football related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for one year and fined $40,000. CAF said the Egyptian Football Federation will immediately inform Zamalek and ensure that this sanction is adhered to, failing which the committee reserves the right to investigate and sanction any breach of this provision by Zamalek.

But in a defiant press conference held on Monday 1 October Mansour said he will attend all club matches despite the suspension, stressing that he will step down from his post only through a decision by the club’s general assembly.

 “I will attend all our matches. There is no one in Egypt or in the Arab world who can ban me from attending,” Mansour said in the press conference at the club’s headquarters.

“No matches in the different sports will be moved outside the club premises,” Mansour asserted. 

“Zamalek is a big club with deeply-rooted history since 1911. We’re a successful club and currently lead the Egyptian league table. Zamalek is above all. I will leave my post only if the club’s general assembly decides so. We will hold an urgent general assembly on 18 and 19 October. We will discuss the situation with the general assembly members as they are the only ones authorised to make decisions regarding our club.”

Moreover, the Egyptian Olympic Committee also decided to suspend Mansour for his discriminatory actions, deciding to move all sports events away from Zamalek’s home grounds.

Mansour attacked Zamalek’s former star Hazem Imam and cancelled his club’s membership for consenting on the sanctions of the Olympic committee.

“Shame on all Egyptian club presidents who didn’t show solidarity with me despite the fact that I helped all of them in different situations before,” Mansour said.

“All outcomes are possible in the upcoming general assembly. I will win my fight with CAF and the Olympic committee as I have the facts on my side,” Mansour said.

Ahmed said Mansour’s suspension was reached in accordance with the regulations of the confederation and was not based on personal desires.

“I didn’t even notice the sanction against Mortada as I was busy with the CAF general assembly,” Ahmed told the media. “We have specialised committees that make decision without any interference from anyone,” he said, adding that even his own country, Madagascar, was suspended for three months by the CAF.

 “We don’t make any decisions based on personal desire, all our decisions depend on regulations,” the CAF president said.

Concerning Cameroon, a CAF delegation for the last inspection visit revealed a significant delay as far as the delivery of infrastructures is concerned. The final decision will be taken in late November after the last inspection visit which will involve audit firm Roland Berger. Two separate inspection visits will be made in October and November to the central African country, whose hosting of the finals has been in jeopardy for the last year. In addition, a joint CAF and FIFA committee will travel to Cameroon in October to study security issues.

“CAF will not make any decision before the Cameroonian presidential election of 7 October,” Ahmed said in Sharm El-Sheikh. “We do not want to disrupt the campaign.” Morocco has long been suggested as an alternative for next year’s Nations Cup finals and has campaigned intently to be named replacement hosts.

CAF also announced its endorsement of a second term for FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The tenure of the FIFA president ends next June, but Ahmed in his welcome address appealed to delegates to back Infantino who was in Sharm. “I profoundly announce that CAF will support (Gianni) Infantino for another term”, the CAF president announced.

Filled with emotion, Infantino said “the support for another term means a lot to me”, whilst pledging more support for the African confederation. “Africa is the future. FIFA is committed to developing Africa’s passion for football via the FIFA Forward so the game can reach its potential in each African nation and everyone who wants to take part can do so without barriers.
“I’m happy and proud that CAF embraced VAR. It shows that CAF is in line with modern trends of football. VAR did not change football; rather VAR has helped football and referees,” Infantino said.

Meanwhile, according to cafonline, a number of CAF competitions were validated in Sharm. Total Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Cote d’Ivoire 2021 after a report of the inspection visit last July showed the progress of work. Of the six stadiums required for the competition, four are to be built and two are undergoing major renovations. For accommodation, three out of five cities do not have the required infrastructure.

In addition, the Total African Nations Championship will be hosted by Ethiopia in 2020 as a stadium inspection mission will be visiting Ethiopia at the end of October 2018 to ensure that the prerequisites are met. Also the dates of the final tournament will be discussed with the Ethiopian authorities. Furthermore, Egypt will host the Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations from 8-22 November 2019, Niger will host the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations from 2-17 February 2019 after the president of Niger confirmed his commitment towards the preparations for the competition. The teams that have qualified are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Niger.

The Total U-17 Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted by Tanzania from 14-28 April 2019 which includes Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal and Tanzania. Ghana will host the Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, from 17 November-1 December 2018 including Algeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Ghana.
The Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted by Egypt from 8-14 December 2018 including  Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Egypt. Buenos Aires will host the Youth Olympic Games, 7-18 October 2018 including futsal which was chosen by FIFA as the football discipline for the Youth Olympic Games with Egypt for the men’s tournament and Cameroon for women. 
A project to assist the federations in upgrading stadiums was adopted. A committee will present a detailed proposal at the next meeting of the Executive Committee.
Moreover, CAF said the rights for qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will not be centralised by CAF. Each federation will be free to look for its own sponsors. CAF will be able to support the member associations in their research.
The Executive Committee also approved development activities for 2018-2019: the revival of the CAF Coaching license, Refereeing, Medical, Clubs Licensing and the General Secretaries Academy.
As to the preparation for the CAF Awards 2018 ceremony, it will take place 8 January 2019 at Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Dakar, Senegal. A new trophy for the African Player of the Year was adopted. The Women’s Player of the Year will also receive a new trophy.
All previous winners will receive the new trophy at the next CAF Awards ceremony.
A number of host countries were chosen for the upcoming competitions: Total Women’s AFCON 2020 in Congo, Futsal AFCON 2020 in Morocco, Total U-20 AFCON 2021 in Mauritania, Total U-17 AFCON 2021 in Morocco and Total CHAN 2022 in Algeria.

The Disciplinary Committee ruled on the Madagascar Football Federation following “a disruption” which took place at the entrance of the main stadium of Mahamasina before the kick-off of the Madagascar match against Senegal played as part of qualifying for the Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2019. A struggle caused the death of one person and injury to 37 others. It is now forbidden for the Madagascar Football Federation to play in the Mahamasina Stadium any national senior A match, for the next three months and / or three matches of the national A senior team; and the Madagascar Football Federation is ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

CAF President Ahmed reiterated his quest to see African football develop into a model. “CAF needs a new dimension to regain the values of Africa,” he said whilst regretting the performance of African teams at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, where none of the five teams (Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia) made it past the group stage, the worst performance of the continent’s representatives in decades.

He also called for support to Lydia Nsekera, FIFA Council member, who has declared her intentions to contest for the presidency of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).

Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi attended the general assembly and thanked the government for its support in making the CAF meetings a “real success”.

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