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An Egyptian based company,Presentation Sport has come out and issued a statement on charges aganist Confederation of African Football (CAF) following a case that is pending in court set to be heard on Monday March 13 concerning allegations of failure to open up a tender for media rights of the main regional football competitions in Africa.

The tender was awarded to a French firm Lagardere Sports and will see the company dominating the airwaves for next 12 years upto 2028 in a deal that is reported to be worth $ 1 billion.In this court challenge Presentation Sport cities Issa Hayatou and Hicham El Amrani as the accused persons who failed to open up the tender that which subjects the viewers to unjustified costs when watching CAF football competitions and prevent potential competitors from entering destignated markets.

According to the statement Presentation Sports is currently waiting a verdict following their appeal to the FIFA Ethics Committee and the FIFA Reviwe Committee to exclude Hayatou and El Amrani from the list of candidates for re-election for the CAF Executive Committee scheduled to take place tomorrow,March 16.

“We are deeply disappointed to be denied the opportunity of a fair and transparent bid for CAF’s media rights, despite repeated requests and calls made by the Egyptian Competition Authority. We assign great
value to the demands of our loyal viewers across Egypt and Africa, and will continue to appeal for theright to provide them with the best service, options and opportunity, ” said Yasser Fathy, the Legal Advisor to Presentation Sports.

“With a new president at the head of FIFA, the organisation has been undergoing a huge reform, with good governance policies and transparency being a priority. The winds are changing and with the
elections for CAF Presidency this week, perhaps it is time that CAF FAs also be proactive in their decision of leadership and not wait until they reach a breaking point like FIFA almost did”, he added.

The statement futher states that ramifications of the absence of transparent tender procedures can result in lesser revenues for CAF’s members, which could potentially have a negative effect on the development of football in the African continent, and severely restricts competition. This is a threat to media plurality in Egypt and Africa, according to the ECA.

Furthermore, long-term exclusivity is considered an anti-competitive practice, and opposes the ECA’s efforts to follow international best practices to defend Egypt markets against monopolies.

The agreements between CAF and Lagardère Sports are also currently under investigation by the Competition Commission for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) which has
deemed the agreements between the two parties of a nature that restraints competition in the Common Market.

If found guilty, COMESA has the power to impose fines of up to 10 percent of the annual turnover of the undertakings and associations in question – a move that has serious implicationson CAF and associated members.

Hayatou has been subject to previous ethical reviews and accusations during his time as a member of the International Olympic Committee. Investigations uncovered that Hayatou (along with former FIFA
president and IOC member Joao Havelange and IAAF President Lamine Diack) were on an International Sport and Leisure (ISL) list that paid 100 Million USD in kickbacks to various parties between 1989 and
1999. It was later confirmed through the IOC Ethics Commission that Hayatou had received a monetary payment, but as he was not an IOC member at the time his sanction by the IOC was minimal.

This stemmed from a scandal regarding marketing rights which took place in November 2010 when BBC’s current affairs programme Panorama alleged that Hayatou had taken bribes in the 1990s in association with the awarding of World Cup television rights.

Panorama claimed to have obtained a document from FIFA’s former ISL marketing agency. The document claimed that Hayatou was paid FF100,000 (USD24,500) by ISL to win the contract to distribute the television
rights.

A lover of African football who boasts experience in journalism, having previously worked at Brand Agenda Publications, East Africa University News and University Post in Uganda before moving to Soka25east.com. On Twitter @fgchuma

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