CAIRO, January 18 – FIFA’s acting president Issa Hayatou has given up some of his powers as Confederation of African Football (CAF) leader ahead of the increasingly controversial election campaign to head football’s world body.
Hayatou will leave CAF’s handling of the FIFA election and relations with other regional confederations to his two vice presidents, according an official statement.
CAF decided the move on Saturday, a day after FIFA presidential contender Prince Ali bin al Hussein made a complaint over an accord made by the CAF and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
CAF officials denied there was a link however.
“The president, in agreement with the executive committee, just wants to exclusively wear his FIFA hat in handling the election for which the final phase will start on January 26 with the final list of candidates,” said a CAF spokesman Junior Binyam.
Hayatou took over at FIFA when Sepp Blatter was suspended by the world body in October. Blatter faces a criminal investigation in Switzerland over a suspect $2 million payment to UEFA chief Michel Platini.
CAF said its executive committee on Saturday “authorised a delegation of powers” to first vice president Suketu Patel and second deputy Almamy Kabele Camara.
“They will be in charge of relations between CAF, other confederations, members and candidates for the FIFA presidential elections until the conclusion of the FIFA electoral process.”
Patel and Camara will also lead the African delegation at the FIFA election in Zurich on February 26.
CAF is to decide on February 5 which of the five FIFA candidates it will back.
Prince Ali has asked FIFA’s Electoral Committee to look into an accord made on Friday by the CAF and the AFC, which is headed by Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa a leading rival for the FIFA presidency.
“I am concerned that there has been an attempt to breach electoral rules in the FIFA presidential election,” Prince Ali said of the CAF-AFC accord announced in Kigali on Friday.
But Shaikh Salman has strongly denied any hint of misconduct saying negotiations had started before he became a candidate for the FIFA presidency.
“I am astonished about my friend’s comments, which are wholly dismissed and entirely inaccurate,” Shaikh Salman said in a statement.
The other FIFA candidates are UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino, South African business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France.