CAF Denies Any Wrong Doing in Lagardere Broadcast Contract

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Duro Ikhazuagbe
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has denied any wrong doing in the award of broadcast rights to Lagardère Sports.

In CAF’s reaction to the intent to probe the transaction with Lagardere Sports by Egyptian Sports Authority, the continental football body insisted in a statement that Isa Hayatou is not liable for any wrong doing.

The CAF statement reads: “False information, published in the Egyptian press since yesterday and widely reported around the world, indicates a recommendation for prosecution of the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to the Attorney General of Egypt on corruption charges.
“The said recommendation is supposed to be made by the Egyptian Competition Authority, which accuses CAF of violating the competition rules in Egypt regarding the procedure for the allocation of commercial rights for certain CAF competitions for the period 2017- 2028.

“It should be noted that in the letter sent to CAF by the Egyptian Competition Authority, there is no mention of any prosecution against the president of CAF, whether for acts of corruption or something else.
“The CAF recalls that its Executive Committee, after evaluating the different offers submitted, and in strict compliance with the existing contractual clauses, agreed to renew the contract with Lagardère Sports for the 2017-2028 cycle.

“This was done in June 2015. This contract guarantees African football a substantial increase in revenues and substantial funding for the development of football on the continent.
“CAF wishes to point out that the contract with Lagardère Sports does not contravene national or supranational legislation, as established by categorical legal opinions in this regard.

“The marketing zones for audiovisual rights do not apply only to CAF competitions, but correspond to a universally recognized division, notably in the marketing of the rights of sporting events.
“It should be noted that even for the FIFA World Cup, commercial rights are ceded for more than one edition in the MENA Zone (Middle East and North Africa). No marketing is done on a country-by-country basis. This is also valid for most European championships.

“CAF, which has adequately and independently managed African football over the past 60 years, commit itself to cooperate with all relevant bodies and institutions in strict compliance with its statutes and regulations, its contractual commitments and the legislation in force on the African continent and beyond,” the unsigned statement posted on CAF official website concluded.

BBC Sports reported earlier yesterday that the 70-year old Cameroonian who is serving his seventh term in-charge of African football is being investigated by Egyptian authorities for allegations bothering on award of several CAF tournament broadcast rights to a media company, Lagardere Sports.

According to the Egyptian Competition Authority, Hayatou is suspected of not opening up the tender to free and fair competition as required by Egyptian law.CAF is based in Cairo so the authorities say it must follow their laws. Hayatou was first elected as CAF president in 1998.
Although Lagardere is not the subject of the referral, an official of the company insisted that the allegation “ is wholly unfounded.”