Faced with a crisis that threatens to overwhelm the governing body of soccer on the African continent, FIFA is taking the unprecedented step of sending its top administrator, its secretary general Fatma Samoura, to run the stricken organization.
The Cairo-based Confederation of African Football, soccer’s largest regional confederation, has lurched from disaster to disaster in the past few months and is on the verge of a total meltdown just as the region’s biggest national team competition — the Africa Cup of Nations — prepares to begin in Egypt.
On the eve of the tournament, senior officials gathered for an emergency meeting, where they agreed to being led by Samoura, who will hold the title of FIFA High Commissioner for Africa when she assumes the new post later this summer.
The decision comes amid myriad issues faced by CAF, not least an investigation into its Madagascan president, Ahmad Ahmad, by FIFA’s ethics committee amid a torrent of allegations of wrongdoing, ranging from financial mismanagement to sexual harassment.
Ahmad, who continues to deny the allegations against him and has claimed to be the victim of a smear campaign, was briefly arrested in Paris earlier this month by the French police, a day after Gianni Infantini was re-elected as FIFA’s president in Paris.