KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The African confederation, its leaders and their financial files have found a bolt hole – a ‘safe house’ – just in case pressure from sports and criminal investigators becomes too intense.

CAF has been granted diplomatic immunity by Egypt for its headquarters offices in Cairo.

The status is similar to the immunity once granted to South American confederation CONMEBOL in Paraguay and to the Olympic Council of Asia in Kuwait.

CONMEBOL had its immunity stripped by the Paraguayan government after the explosion of the FIFAGate corruption scandal but, by the time police investigators entered the building, a tranche of documents and computers had vanished.

Confirmation of the CAF agreement was announced in a formal statement.

This explained:

In order to continue the efforts deployed and to facilitate its mission of development and promotion of African football, CAF successfully concluded the signing of the new headquarters agreement with the Egyptian government which recognizes the international legal personality of the African Confederation of Football as an international non-governmental organization.

The agreement was signed by CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and the Egyptian Minister for Youth and Sports, Dr Ashraf Sobhy in the presence of the Egyptian Prime Minister, Dr Mostafa Madbouly.

Under the terms of this agreement, CAF will enjoy several advantages, immunities and privileges similar to those granted to members of international organizations and diplomatic missions. The agreement is valid for a period of 10 years, renewable automatically.

CAF president Ahmad and his executive are under heavy pressure after an audit by PwC revealed a $24m gap between development and support revenues and expenditure.

A string of reforms have been recommended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary-general Fatma Samoura.

These will be discussed by the CAF exco later this week. Most controversial was a proposal that the Nations Cup should switch from a two-year staging to four years.

A CAF statement said: “Several structuring measures had been taken before and during the six-month partnership with FIFA, and these measures concern both the governance and the day-to-day management of CAF affairs.

“We will therefore continue along this path of reform and thus raise CAF to the best international standards.

“Management changes cannot be secured within a few weeks, and the executive committee is resolved to finalize the transformation of CAF during its mandate.”

That mandate is due to end at CAF Congress next year.