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“African football is not self-sufficient; too much external influence”

"African football is not self-sufficient; too much external influence"

Ahmad Ahmad has claimed that FIFA wields undue influence over the affairs of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and has strategic control over the continental football body.

Prior to his 2020 suspension for violating various FIFA ethics codes, the former CAF president assumed leadership of the African confederation in 2017.

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

The confederation has 54 members and thus 54 votes, one fewer than Europe’s next largest confederation, UEFA.

These African votes (out of a possible 211) are crucial to the hopes of current and 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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