CAF Set To Change Rules Again �To Allow Hayatou Continue

A proposal to change the rules to allow Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou to extend his 27-year reign as President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is set to be put forward.  

CAF currently requires officials who reach 70 to step down but a proposal to scrap the age limit is to be placed before the ruling body’s Congress in Cairo on April 7 and 8.

“FIFA does not have any limits on age for its Executive Committee members so CAF want to bring this in line with them,” CAF Executive Committee member Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana said.

The 68-year-old Hayatou, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is currently in his seventh term as CAF President since being elected in 1988 following the death of Ethiopia’s Ydnekatchew Tessema.

Hayatou’s current term is due to end in 2017 but, if the rule is changed, it will give him the opportunity to seek a record eighth term until at least 2021, when he will be 75.

That means he will go back on an undertaking he made before his most recent re-election in 2013 when he said: “If I’m elected, this will be my last term.

The CAF statutes state that “at the time of their election, all candidates nominated to the CAF executive committee must be bona fide members of their national associations and must be under 70 years of age.”

The rule will be scrapped if it is passed, as expected at the Congress in the Egyptian capital.

Under Hayatou’s leadership, Africa staged the World Cup finals for the first time in South Africa in 2010.

Even if CAF changes its rules, Hayatou will still have to step down as a member of the IOC as he was elected in 2001, meaning his membership ceases when he reaches 70.

The change in the CAF rule follows success in recent years in adapting the statutes to limit potential opponents to Hayatou’s rule.

CAF previously brought in a rule that candidates for its Presidency can only come from the ranks of its own Executive Committee, which Hayatou effectively controls.

Hayatou represented his country at athletics and basketball before becoming secretary general of the Cameroon Football Association in 1974 at the age of only 28 and then 12 years later being elected the organisation’s President.

Hayatou, who unsuccessfully challenged Sepp Blatter for the Presidency of FIFA in 2002, has regularly been linked with corruption allegations.

BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Panorama alleged in 2010 that he had taken bribes in the 1990s from marketing company ISL for the sale of television rights to the FIFA World Cup.

Panorama claimed to have obtained a confidential document from the company which showed that Hayatou was paid 100,000 French francs.

Hayatou denied the allegation, claiming that the money went not to him but to CAF, but he was reprimanded by the IOC for “a conflict of interest”.

In May 2011, The Sunday Times published claims from a whistle-blower that Hayatou had been among FIFA Executive Committee members who accepted a $1.5 million bribe from Qatar to secure his support for their bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Hayatou also denied this allegation, while the IOC said they were “aware” of the allegations but have never investigated them.