By Jennifer Ugwueke
Former Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Issa Hayatou has been banned by FIFA’s ethics committee over a controversial $1 billion TV and marketing rights deal with France’s Lagardere Sports which infringed competition regulations.
Hayatou, a former FIFA vice-President and interim President was handed a one-year ban on Tuesday August 3. He was also ordered to pay a 30,000 Swiss francs (28,000 euros/$33,000) fine after the committee’s adjudicatory chamber breached article 15 (Duty of Loyalty) of world football’s governing body’s ethics code.
The investigation into 74-year-old Hayatou’s conduct in his position as CAF President had focused on his involvement in negotiating and signing off a memorandum of understanding and contractual agreement for the commercialisation of media and marketing rights of CAF-organised events with Lagardere between 2014 and 2017.
Qatari-based French-owned Lagardere Sports Agency, a CAF partner since 1993, was granted a $1 billion exclusive broadcasting rights deal to cover African football competitions from 2017 through to 2028 in a 2015 agreement signed with the CAF, leading to the opening of an investigation from 2017.
Hayatou was found guilty of entering an anti-competitive agreement with Lagardere which damaged the organisation financially as well as its reputation.
A statement from Fifa website read;
“The investigation into Mr Hayatou’s conduct in his position as Caf president concerned his involvement in the negotiation, conclusion and signature of the memorandum of understanding and contractual agreement for the commercialisation of media and marketing rights of competitions organised by Caf with the company Lagardere Sports between 2014 and 2017.
“Based on information gathered by the investigatory chamber, Mr Hayatou had breached his duty of loyalty in his position as Caf president, by entering, in the name and on behalf of the confederation, into an anti-competitive agreement with Lagardere Sport which was detrimental and caused significant damage to Caf (both financially, in the amount of EGP 200 million, as well as to its reputation).
“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Hayatou had breached article 15 of the current edition of the Fifa Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at both national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) for one year.”
The ban takes effect from August 3 and that means he will not be involved in January’s Africa Cup of Nations that will be held in his homeland.