ZURICH: Issa Hayatou, commander of African football for the past 28 years, has taken over as interim president of world federation FIFA after the suspension of Sepp Blatter by the ethics committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was relieved of his duties and barred from all connection with, and involvement in, football for 90 days pending a full investigation into the circumstances of a criminal investigation notice served on him by the Officer of the Attorney-General.
The scope of the suspension imposed by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert was set out in a statement from FIFA noting that Blatter “is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.”
The 69-year-old Hayatou had been appointed as interim president under the terms of FIFA statutes which rules that “if the the president is permanently or temporarily prevented from performing his official function, the longest-serving vice-president shall represent him until the next Congress.”
In a statement, Hayatou said:
“Today, amid extraordinary circumstances, I have assumed the office of FIFA president pursuant to Article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes. I will serve only on an interim basis. A new president will be chosen by the extraordinary congress on February 26, 2016. I myself will not be a candidate for that position.
“Until the extraordinary congress, I pledge that I will dedicate my best efforts to the organization, the member associations, our employees, our valued partners, and football fans everywhere.
“FIFA remains committed to the reform process, which is critical to reclaiming public trust. We will also continue to cooperate fully with authorities and follow the internal investigation wherever it leads.
“Football has never enjoyed greater support throughout the world, and that is something everyone associated with FIFA should be proud of.”
Hayatou became head of CAF in 1987 in succession to Ethiopian Ydnekatchew Tessema, a FIFA vice-president in 1992 and an IOC member in 2001. Two years ago he said his current term as CAF president would be his last yet, simultaneously, he tightened the rules to ensure his continued protection against any future election challenges.
In 2010, the BBC’s Panorama alleged that he received 100,000 French francs from sports marketing company ISL in return for the media rights of World Cup tournaments. Hayatou claimed that the money was to help fund a CAF anniversary event.
A year later, The Sunday Times alleged that Hayatou and an associate had received significant financial support from Qatar. This time Hayatou protested his innocence, insisting this was sponsorship for a CAF Congress.
Earlier this year, with Blatter afraid to leave Switzerland for fear of arrest abroad, Hayatou stood in for him to present the trophy to the US winners of the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Today, in accordance with FIFA’s Code of Ethics, Joseph S. Blatter was relieved of all his duties as FIFA President following the decision of the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee to provisionally ban him from all football activities on a national and international level.
Joseph S. Blatter, for the duration of the 90-day ban, is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity, act on the organisation’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative.
As mandated by article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes, Issa Hayatou, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee, will serve as Acting President of FIFA.
It was also announced that the Independent Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee issued a provisional 90-day ban for FIFA’s Secretary General, Jérôme Valcke.
This decision follows FIFA’s announcement on 17 September 2015, that the organization had put Jérôme Valcke on leave and released him from his duties effective immediately. On that date, FIFA requested a formal investigation by the Ethics Committee.
All operational business matters will continue to be overseen by Markus Kattner, Acting Secretary General.