FIFA bans former stand-in president Issa Hayatou for 1 year

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA banned its former interim president Issa Hayatou on Tuesday for alleged wrongdoing in a commercial deal for African soccer.

Hayatou, who was Confederation of African Football president for 29 years until 2017, was banned for one year for a breach of “duty of loyalty” rules, FIFA said in announcing the ruling of its ethics committee.

He was also fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($33,000) though it is unclear how FIFA can enforce payment.

The FIFA investigation concluded Hayatou negotiated and signed CAF “into an anti-competitive agreement with Lagardère Sport,” a media rights agency based in France.

The 12-year deal was worth a reported $1 billion and gave exclusive rights to CAF competitions including the African Cup of Nations and African Champions League through 2028. It was later canceled.

Hayatou was a long-time FIFA vice president and its stand-in president for several months between Sepp Blatter’s suspension from office in October 2015 and the election of Gianni Infantino four months later.

The 74-year-old Cameroonian lost the CAF presidency in 2017 in an election against Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, whose campaign had been supported by Infantino.

Ahmad is now serving a two-year ban after an investigation of financial wrongdoing by the FIFA ethics committee. That case ended his candidacy to stand for a second term.

The new CAF president is South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who was elected unopposed in March after other candidates stood aside in a deal brokered by Infantino.

It was unclear if the FIFA ban will affect Hayatou’s honorary membership of the International Olympic Committee. He got honorary status after his 15-year membership ended in 2016.

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