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FIFA brokered deal for Motsepe to become CAF President

Motsepe Patrice CAF President.jfif New CAF President, Patrice Motsepe

Sat, 13 Mar 2021 Source: ghanasoccernet.com

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino brokered the deal for South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to become the CAF President on Friday, March 12, 2021, according to reports.

The politically connected mining magnate was acclaimed as Ahmad Ahmad's successor after three other contenders withdrew from the race.

FIFA said the agreement for candidates Augustin Senghor of Senegal, Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania to withdraw from the upcoming election — and unite behind Motsepe — came after meetings in Rabat, Morocco, last week.

The deal was confirmed at another meeting on Saturday in Mauritania, FIFA said.

On that day, all four men appeared alongside Infantino at a ceremony celebrating "African unity" in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, and Infantino said it was the desire of all African football federations "to stop the divisions and get united." FIFA said Motsepe would lead the Confederation of African Football(CAF) with “a common program" that takes from the manifestos of all four men.

Reports said Senghor and Yahya would be given CAF vice president positions and Anouma a role as a consultant to Motsepe, although FIFA didn't announce any details of what agreements might have been made to allow Motsepe to stand unchallenged.

"The four leaders have reiterated that what unites them is much stronger than what could potentially divide them.

"This was the reason it was decided that they should join forces and form a team under the leadership of Patrice Motsepe," FIFA said.

Motsepe, a 59-year-old mining magnate and the brother-in-law of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, is now almost certain to be elected CAF president in Rabat on Friday. With it, he would become a FIFA vice president.

The only possible stumbling block is if the man Motsepe is in line to replace, Ahmad Ahmad, overturns his five-year ban from football for financial misconduct at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and is allowed to stand for re-election.

Even then, it appears unlikely that Ahmad would find enough votes to win with FIFA now openly backing Motsepe.

Ahmad, who was CAF president from 2017 until he was banned last year by FIFA, had his appeal hearing at CAS last week. A verdict is expected early in the week, possibly Monday.

Motsepe was a surprise candidate when he announced in November he would stand for the top job in African football.

He rapidly became the favorite for CAF president over the last few weeks after emerging as Infantino's preferred candidate. Infantino's involvement has stoked talk of election interference.

FIFA has been closely involved in the affairs of the African confederation since effectively taking over its running for six months in 2019 after it became dysfunctional under Ahmad.

Aware also of the significance of Africa’s 54 votes for his own position as FIFA president, Infantino has been close to CAF elections before.

Infantino attended a party hosted by Ahmad’s campaign manager in the run-up to the 2017 CAF election, giving rise to speculation he was backing Ahmad in the contest against longstanding CAF president Issa Hayatou. Hayatou had led African football for 29 years and was also a FIFA veteran.

Infantino denied he was taking sides but Ahmad, a relative unknown, resoundingly beat Hayatou in a major surprise.

Source: ghanasoccernet.com
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