YAOUNDE: Cameroon’s Sports Minister Adoum Garoua has stepped back from a confrontation with FIFA which could have seen the country suspended from international football.

Garoua had told the federation (FECAFOOT) that he planned a two-week ‘consultation’ ahead of regional association elections. The row was embarrassing for African confederation president Issa Hayatou whose family are hugely influential in the country.

FIFA had warned the Minister that his move was government interference which contravened the statutes of both the national and world federations. Secretary-general Jerome Valcke had given the minister until yesterday to reverse action.

Garoua suspended the elections in a highly controversial move on 26 March, saying the poll would not be held until a consultation exercise initiated by his office had run its course.

He justified his decision by asking FECAFOOT to give his ministry “time to open enlarged consultations so as to stReamline the electoral process.”

But in a letter to the FECEFOOT president Iya Mohammed, Garoua SAID: “I have the honour to invite you to proceed with the electoral calendar of your federation in respect of the national legislature and principles of international sports.

“I equally ask that necessary precautions be taken to avoid the disturbance or menace of public order that can arise through the organisation of such elections.”

Garoua, to cover his retreat, said that an “enlarged consultation would continue from April 9-23 in my ministry.”

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