K E I R   R A D N E D G E   R E P O R T I N G

—- Jacques Anouma has not yet lost all hope of winning his fight with Issa Hayatou within the upper echelons of the African Football Confederation – but the latest ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has raised the stakes in his race against time.

The Ivory Coast football federation wants to propose Anouma, a member of the FIFA executive, for the CAF presidency held since 1987 by Cameroonian IOC member Issa Hayatou.  The election – or acclamation – of a new or old president is scheduled for congress in Marrakech, Morocco, on March 10. In the meantime the political skirmishing will continue behind the scenes during the African Nations Cup which opens in South Africa this coming weekend.

Face to face across Africa: Anouma and Hayatou

Anouma, however, no longer qualifies to stand after a change of the CAF statutes was voted through by an overwhelming majority last September at a special congress which was attended by Sepp Blatter; FIFA’s president, when challenged later, observed only that the vote had been taken in properly transparent manner.

In fact the change might be considered as anti-democratic – and anti-transparent – since it ensured that only members of the CAF executive are now permitted to  stand for the African presidency.

The Ivorien does attend CAF executive committee meetings but ‘only’ with observer status because of his role as an African member of the FIFA executive. Hence he does not count as a CAF executive member under the terms of the revised statutes.

Anouma, a 58-year-old accountant, has criticised the manoeuvre by supporters of Hayatou – notably Algerian federation president Mohamed Raouraoua – as “scandalous.” Ivory Coast sports minister Philippe Legre described the amendment as a “political ruse” while Senegal FA president August Senghor considered it “a setback for democracy.”

CAS has decided, in ruling on a third challenge on Anouma’s behalf, not to issue what would be an effective temporary restraining order against the confederation because the case had been brought by Anouma and not by his federation: CAF statutes insist that a presidential candidate must only be proposed by federation.

Hence any complaint against process must also be raised by a federation.

CAS has, however, has left open the door for a full hearing of the issue – as long as the Ivorien federation associates itself with Anouma’s complaint.

Initially action on Anouma’s behalf was taken at CAS by the Liberian federation. Earlier complaints were dismissed by CAS last December because the court ruled that the full confederation appeals process had not yet been exhausted.

The Liberian federation had rushed to CAS in a vain attempt to beat the December 3 deadline by which the statutes change was deemed to have become effective. Hayatou’s opponents worry even more now that the slow course of CAS law will run too slowly for a full hearing to be staged within the next six weeks.

Cameroonian Hayatou, who is bidding for a further term which will keep him in power until 2017, has been in charge of African football’s ruling body since 1987.

A CAS statement after Anouma’s latest rebuff said: “Only national associations have the power to propose candidates for the presidential election. In this case, the Ivory Coast Football Federation did not challenge CAF’s decision and has not filed an appeal to CAS to support the position of Mr Anouma.”

CAF statement

A statement on the African confederation’s website read:

CAS rejects the provisional measures requested by Jacques Anouma

Mister Jacques Anouma made an appeal against CAF’s decision dated December 10th 2012 which declared his candidacy to the CAF Presidency inadmissible, candidacy proposed by the Fédération Ivoirienne de Football.

Mister Anouma requested CAS, within the framework of urgent measures, to suspend the appealed decision and to register him on the list of candidates to the CAF presidency regarding the elections scheduled at the next CAF General Assembly to be held on March 10th 2013.

He considered that, failing to be granted the provisional measures, he would be in a weak position compared to his opponent, which for an election constitutes for him irreparable damage. Mister Anouma requested at the same time the entire suspension of the elective process for the CAF presidency until the final court decision is rendered.

To that end, he requested a court decision in the shortest possible delays, and by latest December 31st 2012

In application of CAF Statutes and in consideration of the sovereignty of the General Assembly, CAF strongly opposed all those requests. CAF requested the rejection of the appeal.

By decision dated January 09th 2013, CAS ruled that Mister Anouma couldn’t prove the existence of an irreparable damage for him. Accordingly, the appeal made on December 19th 2012 of Mister Jacques Anouma in the case opposing him to CAF was rejected.

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Also at www.WorldSoccer.com

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