Winter is coming

The CAF storm hasn't passed. In fact, it may be gathering. New witnesses have led to more lines of inquiry being opened by the investigators, who are broadening the scope of their work to include the relationship between CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and Fifa.

By Philippe Auclair and Pål Ødegård

It is now three and a half months since French police descended at 08:30 on the luxurious Hôtel de Berri in Paris and questioned a startled CAF president Ahmad Ahmad for several hours about his alleged involvement in a controversial deal passed between his confederation and hitherto-unknown companies located in the South of France, Tactical Steel and, later on, ES Pro Consulting.

Tactical Steel, owned and run with his wife Sabine by Romuald Seillier, a long-time friend of Ahmad's right-hand man Loïc Gérand (who was also questioned in Paris), had never sold football equipment of any kind to any club or organisation beforehand; but this did not prevent them from becoming CAF's privileged partner and supplying them with a huge range of Adidas-branded equipment, tens of thousands of items, at very short, in fact almost non-existent notice in December 2017. 

This was all the more surprising since established global companies had declared themselves incapable of honouring the confederation's urgent order. Only one of these, Puma, had managed to respond positively, and were left nonplussed when their agreement with CAF was summarily denounced within a matter of hours of being signed, following Ahmad's personal intervention. New CAF favourites Tactical Steel (and its offshoot ES Pro Consulting) were paid 3 million US dollars plus over three calendar years as a result of this intervention, none of their multiple contracts (for CHAN 2018 and other tournaments, as well as the provision of 60,000 footballs, 'gifts' to African FAs) having been the subject of te...

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