Infantino’s African victory

The election of Ahmad Ahmad as new CAF President boosts Gianni Infantino’s power. The key question remains: Was there foul play in the process? By Pål Ødegård No one could safely predict the outcome before the votes were cast. But in the end it turned out to be a landslide victory for the relatively unknown Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar. Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian FIFA senior vice president and CAF ruler for over 29 years, was swept from the field. African football had never seen any election like it in the 60 years CAF has existed. Previously, all its presidents had in effect been ‘crowned’ by their predecessor, and the few who dared challenge Hayatou in the past, was quickly marginalized in elections. Ahmad’s victory in Addis Abeba was also a huge boost for FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who’s looking to ensure his own re-election as FIFA president in 2019. The African confederation is after all FIFA’s largest confederation with 54 votes. The question, which Issa Hayatou bitterly raised both before and after the CAF presidential election, is whether the FIFA President interfered unduly in the elections of a regional governing body, something which break FIFA’s own statutes. The unknown Only a selected few saw it coming when Ahmad Ahmad Darw from the relatively modest African federation of Madagascar launched his candidacy in January this year. Certainly not Issa Hayatou, who in the midst of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), immediately blocked Madagascar from holding the U17 AFCON for ‘not meeting technical requirements’. It was a characteristic iron fist move from Hayatou, and the rest of the campaign leading up to the elections on the 16th of March in the Ethiopian capital was to be full of controversy and dirty tricks. Ahmad who? That was the question many asked them...

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