MARRAKECH: Issa Hayatou was recrowned president of the African football confederation unopposed here in Morocco today with FIFA president Sepp Blatter – celebrating his 77th birthday – an appreciative spectator writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The only possible challenger, Ivory Coast’s Jacques Anouma, had seen his last faint chance of ousting the Cameroonian IOC member wiped away last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Hayatou, in power since 1987, has said this seventh term would  be his final period as head of the organisation. The 66-year-old, re-elected by acclamation, also received a special certificate from FIFA to commemorate his silver jubilee on the executive committee.

Hayatou referred to Anouma’s challenge in his re-election address.

“The presidents of the federations approved an amendment preventing a few of them from participating in the race for the CAF presidency, which now permits only those who have held positions of responsibility within the institution to run for presidency,” he said.

“The conduct of the executive committee along with the members of national associations during this case was exemplary. The principle of sovereignty of the General Assembly was recognised by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Hayatou, the son of a sultan from the northern city of Garoua, represented Cameroon at basketball and middle-distance running.

Anouma was halted in his tracks when supporters of Hayatou pushed through a statutes switch last September. This laid down that any presidential candidates must be elected members of the CAF executive committee which ruled out Anouma even though he is member of the exco of world governing body FIFA.

The Ivorien federation went ahead and nominated Anouma anyway but this was rejected by the CAF exco.

Last December Anouma appealed to CAS, requesting confirmation of his candidacy for the election of 10 March 2013. He also asked CAS to be placed temporarily on the list of candidates for the CAF presidential election.

The request for interim measures was rejected on January 10 by CAS which has now approved CAF’s justification and the appropriateness of the statutes.

Anouma, a 58-year-old accountant, has criticised last year’s 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.”

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