KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: African anger over corruption allegations against some of their football officials boiled over again at FIFA Congress here.
On Monday a conference of member associations of the African confederation adopted a hysterical resolution assuming that the entire continent had been smeared by The Sunday Times’s claims against disgraced former Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam.
The newspaper had alleged that the Qatari used a $5m slush funds to the benefit of officials in Africa and the Caribbean at a time when the Gulf state was bidding to host the 2022 World Cup and he was preparing to try to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
The resolution was presented to FIFA Congress by Congo federation president Constantin Selemani at the end of a report item delivered by Jeff Webb, who leads the work of FIFA’s anti-discrimination committee.
Selemani read through the resolution starting with its response to criticism of “degrading attacks by some media, notably British, on the image and integrity of the Confederation of African Football, its president, its members, its member associations and the entire African continent.”
It continued: “Considering further the manifested bad faith and deep ignorance of the functioning of FIFA’s organs by the British media, which presents African countries as benefactors of the goodwill gestures of the FIFA Goal project that funds development schemes in the 209 member associations of FIFA on the basis of identical criteria;
“condemns the strategy of using African sport movements and its leaders as scapegoats by those who are trying, at all costs, to acquire a good conscience for themselves;
“declares, in unanimity, its total and unreserved support to all wrongfully incriminated Africans and to the president of CAF, Mr Issa Hayatou, whose transparent and distinguished leadership has brought about an envious transformation of African football;
“urges the executive committee of CAF to file a law suit, if necessary, so that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football are brought to book;
“expresses its gratitude to FIFA president Mr Joseph S Blatter, for his continuous involvenment in the development of football in Africa and his personal commitment in the fight against racism.”
The resolution was greeted by some muted applause, FIFA president Sepp Blatter avoided jumping on the bandwagon – as he had earlier in the week – said that the item had been ‘noted’ . . . and passed on to the next item on the agenda.