Motsepe & Yahya cleared for Caf roles, but Omari barred

By Piers EdwardsBBC Sport Africa
Mauritania football federation president Ahmed Yahya and Fifa General Secretary Fatma Samoura
Mauritania FA president Ahmad Yahya was named Caf's Leader of the Year in 2017

South African Patrice Motsepe and Mauritania's Ahmed Yahya have been cleared to run for the Confederation of African Football (Caf) presidency despite previous doubts over the duo's eligibility.

Acting Caf president Constant Omari has been barred from bidding for the Fifa Council however owing to 'an ongoing formal investigation by the Fifa Ethics Committee'.

Fifa's Review Committee has said both Motsepe and Yahya can contest the 12 March elections, where they will take on Ivorian Jacques Anouma and Senegal FA president Augustin Senghor.

"Happy to announce the approval of my candidature for the position of Caf President and Fifa Vice-President by the Fifa Review Committee," Yahya tweeted. external-link

"We have one month left to carry high our ambition for the future of African football."

The candidacies of Motsepe and Yahya were thrown into doubt earlier this month.

On 8 January, a Caf statement said 'further checks were necessary before a final decision' on Motsepe, the billionaire owner of South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns, and Yahya, who has led Mauritania's FA since 2011.

A day later, Caf's interim president Constant Omari organised an Emergency Committee meeting whereupon it was stated that Fifa would determine the candidates' eligibility.

Upon election, the Caf president automatically assumes a vice-presidency role with the global body.

Caf has previously said a hearing for both Motsepe and Yahya will 'be organised in Cairo on 28 January'.

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe is the tenth richest man in Africa according to Forbes magazine

Technically, Caf's Governance Committee could still find a candidate already approved by Fifa to be ineligible.

Madagascar's Ahmad, who had been hoping to bid for a second term as Caf president until he was banned by Fifa in November, has been deemed ineligible to run in the elections.

He is appealing his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport where even a reprieve, should one come, could arrive too late to re-install his name on the list of candidates.

His replacement as Caf president - DR Congo's Constant Omari - is also under investigation by Fifa's Ethics Committee, who are probing both his role, and that of Ahmad's, in a decision to amend a billion-dollar TV contract.

Fifa is keen to understand why Caf apparently agreed to buy around $20m of debt owed by a Beninois sports agency called LC2 GROUP to Lagardere Sports, the French company that had been handling Caf's marketing and media sales until the contract was cancelled in late 2019.

Under an amendment, signed in early 2019, to the original 2015 deal between Lagardere and Caf, the latter agreed to pay Lagardere $6.7m for the debt, all of which relates to outstanding TV rights payments, owed by LC2 GROUP.

Neither Ahmad, Omari, Caf nor Lagardere responded to questions about the issue when previously contacted by BBC Sport Africa.

Algeria FA president Khireddine Zetchi was also barred from running for the Fifa Council 'because of failing to report sanctions imposed by Caf and the Professional Football League of Algeria' against him on his entry form.

March's elections will take place in the Moroccan capital Rabat, with the victor serving a four-year term.

The letter from Fifa's Review Committee confirms the ongoing investigation into acting Caf president Omari
The letter from Fifa's Review Committee confirms the ongoing investigation into acting Caf president Omari