The scramble for Africa

In 2018, according to documents seen by Josimar, the African Football Confederation (Caf) entered a ten year long sponsorship deal worth close to 60 million euro with controversial online bookmaker 1XBet. But Caf is now “re-evaluating” its business relationship with 1XBet, in a move that could cost millions for the cash-strapped confederation.

By Philippe Auclair

Caf could do, at least in financial terms, with more commercial partners as generous as 1XBet, who committed just under 60 million euro (65,4 million US dollars) over a period of ten years to have its brand associated with the African confederation's marquee tournaments.

Yet, when Josimar approached Caf's General Secretary Véron Mosengo-Omba with a list of questions related to 1XBet's status as an 'official sponsor' of the organisation, highlighting the recent bankruptcy decision affecting 1XCorp by the Dutch Supreme Court, multiple claims of non-payment by former customers of the operator in Africa and elsewhere, the identity of its ultimate beneficial owners, who are thought to be Russian citizens now living in Cyprus, etc, this is the response we received, a response which is worth quoting in full not just for the information it contains, but also because it is highly unusual for Caf to comment on such topics so candidly. 

"Caf treats very seriously the questions raised by its commercial partnership with 1XBet, which was inherited from the previous administration", Mr Mosengo-Omba wrote. "[Caf] is currently re-evaluating the situation from a legal, financial and ethical point of view, with the support of external experts. We will not make any further statement whilst we are waiting for their conclusions."

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