Full Speech of Issa Hayatou at the 39th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF
Full Speech of Issa Hayatou at the 39th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF
Your Excellency, the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Your Excellency the President of the African Union Commission
The President of FIFA
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors accredited to the African Union
FIFA Council Members
CAF Executive Committee members
The President of the Ethiopian Football Federation
Delegates to the General Assembly Dear business partners
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media
Distinguished guests in your respective ranks and titles
Ladies and Gentlemen
May I, first and foremost, thank Ethiopian authorities, the African Union and the Ethiopian Football Federation, which is hosting us today, for the support and efforts made toward the success of this event.
It is equally an honour for CAF to have the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the President of the African Union Commission as its guests of honour.
Your Excellencies, thank you for accepting to grace this august gathering with your presence, and to have accepted to speak at this ocassion.
Chosing Addis-Abeba to celebrate the 60 years of CAF is not fortuitous. It is the capital of Africa and of one of the founding members of CAF.
I cannot go on without equally expressing admiration for the tremendous beauty and majesty of this hall, the Nelson Mandela hall, in which this 39th General Assembly is taking place. This name brings to mind the sacrifice of a lifetime for the abolition of all segregation vis-a-vis blacks and Africans specifically speaking.
In this hall, leaders and African Heads of States regularly come together to deliberate and take decisions that impact the development of our dear continent. It is expected of us today to do same for the development of our football.
Like the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, or even our forerunners at the presidency of CAF, we would never be transigent as concerns the emancipation, independence, emergence and the respect due to Africa and to Africans.
The future of African football must be decided by Africans, you, members of the General Assembly, in the interest of Africans.
To us this means having an African Nations cup that is played every two years, at a climatically convenient time, in a format that makes it possible for many countries to vy for its organisation.
We urge African leaders to never sway from the path that has been traced by all the pioneers of the panAfrican movement, whose memory I here pay hommage to.
Singularly, here are those of my predecessors at the presidency of CAF: Abdelaziz Salem, Mohamed Abdelaziz Mostafa, Mohamed Abdel Halim and Ydnekatchew Tessema.
All four of them passed on into posterity as those who first placed a ban on South Africa due to the segregationist policy that was practiced there.
In fact, in February 1957, CAF, just hours after its creation, was the first sport organisation to exclude South Africa, although the country was one of its founding members along with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. FIFA or the CIO had not even envisaged doing that.
Its was still Africa, some years later, under the patronage of Tessema, that caused FIFA to codify South Africa’s exclusion in its statutes, until the later could come up with an inter-racial football team.
In 1965, Africa decided on the boycott of the qualifiers for the 1966 World Cup. At that time, FIFA reserved only a single position at the finals for Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The boycott resulted in an immediate allocation of a direct position to Africa as from the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
So it has always been with great self-esteem that Africa asserted itself onto the global football platform, sure of its right. Without compromising, she was able to contract partnerships when that was necessary to increase her presence.
Such was the case with Lennhart Johansson, UEFA President, when it was necessary to negotiate five positions for Africa in the finals phase of of the World Cup as from 1998.
Today we have good reasons to imagine that, in a World Cup format enlarged to 48, ten representatives for Africa would be a commensurate expectation considering the level of development of our football, and what our continent represent within FIFA. With your support, you members, we are sure of attaining this goal.
More over, Africa equally deserves to have the number of its representatives increased in the finals of men’s competitions in FIFA’s age categories.
The domination of Africa is very clear here. During the last six editions of the Under 20 World Cup, Africa’s performance is as follows: 1 title, 1 finals, 4 semi-finals, 2 quarter finals, and 10 eight finals.
In the Under 17 years for the last 5 editions we recorded: 3 titles, 2 finals, 1 semi-finals, 1 quarter final, and 6 eight finals.
We took the conversation to the level of the FIFA Council, and we will commit ourselves, just as we have always done, so that this injustice done to Africa be compensated for. This will certainly entail a revision of the format of youths’ competition in Africa.
We have equally tabled to the FIFA Board the debate on the clossure of two FIFA development offices in Africa
CAF is the only confederation which has had the number of its offices reduced. From four offices we now have two.
A decision we are till struggling to comprehend the reasons behind, despite the fact that CAF comprises 54 member associations, soon to be 55.
Meanwhile, the impact of the various development programmes, supported by FIFA’s regional offices, is undeniably evident viewing the transformation of our member associations and the results discussed earlier.
Having presided over the Development Committee and the Finance Committee of FIFA, I seize this opportunity to reiterate a fact. Africa has never received, and is not receiving a kind of Marshall aid.
The funds allocated in the development projects are thesame for all the member associations of FIFA, regardless of the continent.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
As from January 1, 2017 CAF launched a new commercial cycle of its competitions.
The previous round, the first of its kind for African football, between 2008 and 2016, with a guaranteed minimum of 150 million dollars, allowed for the distribution of significant amounts of money to clubs and member associations.
It also made it possible for CAF to project into its future. And especially, to be sure of a serene continuation of its competitions and activities even in very unfavourable situations.
Henceforth, with a guaranteed minimum of one billion US dollars over twelve years, we have more than average to keep up with the transformation of our football.
This money is not to be distributed to individuals. But to be well invested into the development of the youth of the continent. By creating an environment whereby the youth would not have to travel abroad in order to achieve his dream.
This is one major reason that motivated CAF to create the African Nations Championship, a unique competition in the world, exclusively for players playing in the championships of their countries. The last edition in Rwanda showed to the world the technical, tactical and physical level of home-grown African players.
We now equally have to increase our efforts in supporting our States, which are enduring enormous and multifaceted sacrifices for the development of football in Africa. Let it be said that without the governments, it is impossible to talk about the development of football in Africa. It is the reality of our continent.
I seize the opportunity to thank all the Heads of States and governments which, for 60 years, have walked beside CAF and the emergence of football in Africa, and which continue to do so.
Their involvement is decisive given that we have to keep up to the schedule with, and in optimal conditions, considering the tens of competitions that we now organise.
It is not an uphill task to keep up to this schedule. But we can get support from our managing structures which are professionalising, a skilled and devoted staff both at the level of the federations as well as at the Confederation. I hail all these persons for the sacrifices they undertake on a daily basis.
The road covered to have arrived there is significant.
The cake is permanently being shared. But to member associations and clubs. For the next twelve years, the greater part of our revenues would go as premiums paid to clubs taking part in our competitions. From the beginning of this year, all these premiums have had increases in relative value, which in most cases are well beyond 200%.
An update of the “Contract with Africa”, our development programme for member associations is also on course.
Following the extension and official opening of Mbankomo Centre of Excellence of CAF, in Mbankomo Cameroon, in May 2014, we are expecting to see that of Addis-Abeba become operational very soon.
Infrastructure, which constitute a considerable aspect in our policy for the training of coaches, referees, doctors and the various actors.
Notwithstanding the decisions that shall be taken by this General Assembly today, CAF would have to continue it positive progress and anchor itself on its strong stakeholders so that football may continue to prosper.
For this reason, it is important to keep to the principles of good governance, which are highly cherished at CAF. As a proof, apart from the habitual publication of our audited financial reports, we submit to you today a new version of the statutes of CAF.
This version puts forth concrete reforms, which aim at reinforcing democracy, the seperation of powers, independence and the professionalisation of African football.
These proposals are the result of the work done by the Reform Committee, composed mainly by our dear Presidents of federations, notably Botswana, Cape Verde, Algeria, Senegal and Tanzania.
To all the candidates that would be taking part in the various elections scheduled today, I wish you good luck. And especially fair-play, to those for whom the outcome might not have been favorable.
The losers of today may become the winners of tomorrow. The strength of the Confederation africaine de Football is in its unity and its cohesion, and the organisation has to continue in it.
As the President of CAF, who today possesses and unequalled experience and wisdom, I urge you, whatever may be your decision, to choose unity, the choice of solidarity, the winning choice. The choice that will allow Africa to remain solid and to assert it full potential on the global football arena.
Long live African football!
Let’s celebrate Africa! Issa Hayatou (born 9 August 1946) is a Cameroonian former athlete and sports executive. He served as the acting FIFA president until 26 February 2016 as the previous president, Sepp Blatter, was banned from all football-related activities in 2015 as a part of the FIFA corruption investigation of 2015. He was the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) between 1988 and 2017. In 2002, he ran for president of FIFA but was defeated by Blatter. He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
In November 2010 he was alleged by the BBC to have taken bribes in the 1990s regarding the awarding of World Cup television rights. The IOC has announced it will investigate him. Following the 2015 FIFA corruption case, Hayatou took charge of FIFA, as the acting president, until 26 February 2016 when Gianni Infantino was elected to the position. On 16 March 2017, he was defeated by Malagasy challenger Ahmad Ahmad, ending Hayatou’s 29-year reign as the CAF President.Life and career
Hayatou is the fifth president of the Confederation of African Football. He was born in Garoua, Cameroon, the son of a local Sultan, and became a middle distance runner and physical education teacher. Hayatou had a successful career as an athlete, becoming a member of the Cameroonian national squads in both Basketball and Athletics, and holding national record times in the 400 and 800-meter running.
He is married with four children. The Hayatou family are traditional holders of the sultanate (Lamidat, from the Sokoto Caliphate’s traditional Fula title Lamine) of Garoua. Hayatou was son of the reigning sultan, and many relatives have acceded to powerful positions in Cameroonian society. Most notable is Issa’s brother Sadou Hayatou, a former Prime Minister of Cameroon and longtime high official under Cameroon president Paul Biya, who is among those tapped to succeed him in the future. The Hayatou family continue to wield much political influence in northern Cameroon.
In 1974, aged just 28, he became Secretary General of the Cameroon Football Association, and Chair of the FA in 1986. As chair, he was chosen the same year to sit on the CAF Executive Committee. Following the retirement of Ethiopia’s Ydnekatchew Tessema from the CAF presidency in August 1987, Hayatou was elected as the fifth president in the body’s history. He lost his seventh re-election campaign to Ahmad Ahmad in March 2017.
Growth of the CAF
Main article: History of CAF § Hayatou’s era
President of CAF for over two decades, Hayatou has overseen particularly successful FIFA World Cup appearances by Senegal, Nigeria, and Cameroon, and pushed for African places in the finals to increase from two to five, with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa seeing the hosts garner an automatic sixth spot for an African team. Mr. Hayatou has presided over both the bid and the organising committee for the 2010 games, the first in Africa. The African Cup of Nations finals expanded from 8 to 16 teams, in a confederation of over 50 nations in six zones and five regional confederations. Club competitions have undergone a similar growth in both numbers and scale, with more clubs participating in the African Cup of Champions Clubs, the CAF Confederation Cup (begun in 2004 for national cup winners and high-placed league teams), the CAF Cup, and the CAF Super Cup. There has also been an expansion outside men’s football, with the CAF overseeing Youth, Women’s, Fustal, and Beach soccer competitions.
Relations with UEFA and FIFA
One of the major aims of Hayatou’s presidency in the late 1990s was to provide incentives to African football clubs which would stem the flow of African players to Europe; an initiative which met with little success. Hayatou has couched some criticism of the uneven flow of football ‘resources’ in colonial terms, saying that “rich countries import the raw material – talent – and often send their less valuable technicians”, an implied criticism of foreign coaching staffs that employed by most African national sides. A September 1997 initiative negotiated by Hayatou with UEFA saw the payment of fees to African governing bodies and clubs for African-born players working in Europe. This was followed by the Meridian Project signed in December 1997 with UEFA, which was to provide cash payments to African National Associations every other year, and created the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup. The 1999 Goal Project created with FIFA gives 46 African FAs financial support worth one million dollars over four years. These negotiations, regardless of their impact on African club football, forged a close relationship between UEFA leaders and Hayatou, and led to UEFA’s backing of Hayatou’s nomination to replace Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA in 2002. Blatter, supported by the American and Asian confederations, defeated Hayatou by 139 votes to 56.
In November 2010 Andrew Jennings, the presenter of FIFA’s Dirty Secrets, an edition of BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Panorama alleged that Hayatou had taken bribes in the 1990s regarding the awarding of contracts for the sale of television rights to the football World Cup. Panorama claimed to have obtained a document from a company called ISL which showed that Hayatou was paid 100,000 French Francs by the company. ISL won the contract to distribute the television rights. Hayatou has denied the allegations, saying that the money went not to him but to CAF. The IOC has announced it will investigate Hayatou, due to his membership of the organisation.
In May 2011, The Sunday Times published claims from a whistle-blower that Hayatou had, along with fellow Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma, accepted $1.5 million bribes from Qatar to secure his support for their bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
2010 Togo suspension
Main article: Togo national football team attack
Just days before the end of the 2010 African Cup in Angola, Issa Hayatou found himself in the middle of a controversy after the CAF’s suspension of Togo national football team from the next two African Cup of Nations. Hayatou charged the Togolese government with interference in the Togolese Football Association’s affairs when the team withdrew from the 2010 cup prior to its start. The Togolese team was victim of an 8 January 2010 armed attack while travelling to Angola by bus prior to the start of the Cup, resulting in two deaths in the Togo delegation. Togolese captain Emmanuel Adebayor and Togo coach Hubert Velud strongly criticised Hayatou in particular for the CAF decision, calling on him to resign from the CAF presidency.
Olympic committee confusion
On 21 September 2011 it was announced that FIFA had appointed Hayatou President of FIFA’s Olympic committee and approved his role as chairman of the Goal Bureau. Hayatou had previously headed FIFA’s Olympic committee from 1992 to 2006. At the time of his appointment, Hayatou was still under investigation for alleged bribery. It was later denied by FIFA that Hayatou had been appointed President of the Olympic committee, his apparent appointment was described as “a technical error”.
1964 – 1971 Champion at the 400m and 800m; member of the Cameroon national basketball team; football player at university level.
1965 Member of the Cameroon national basketball team on the occasion of the first All Africa Games in Brazzaville.
1973 – 1974 Coordinator-Professor at the Lycée Leclerc (Yaoundé)
1974 – 1983 General Secretary of the Cameroon Football Association
1982 – 1986 Director of Sports of Cameroon (Ministry of Youth and Sports)
1985 – 1988 President of the Cameroon Football Association
1986 Member of the Cameroon Football Association Executive Committee
1988 – 2017 President of the Confederation of African Football
1990 Member of the FIFA Executive Committee
1992 – present FIFA Senior Vice-President; President of the Organising committee of the Football Olympic Tournaments of FIFA (till 2006); Vice-President of FIFA Committee for Security and Fair-Play; Member of the World Cup Organising Committee
1997 Member of the Women and Sport Committee of the International Olympic Committee; Head of the Cameroonian sports delegations on several sporting occasions
2001 Elected member of the International Olympic Committee during the Moscow session
2015 – 2016 Acting President of FIFA