Soccer's world governing body Fifa has banned former African Football Confederation (CAF) president Issa Hayatou. FIFA's ethics committee had found that he was involved in a controversial $1 billion TV and marketing rights deal with France's Lagardere Sports that violated competition rules.
Issa Hayatou, a former FIFA vice president and the interim president was handed a one-year ban. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (28,000 euros/$33,000) after the committee's adjudicatory chamber found him in breach of Article 15 (duty of loyalty) of world football's governing body's code of ethics.
The investigation into 74-year-old Issa Hayatou's conduct in his position as CAF president had focused on his involvement in Lagardere's negotiation and signing of a memorandum of understanding and contractual agreement to market media and marketing rights to CAF-organized events between 2014 and 2017.
Qatar-based and French-owned Lagardere Sports Agency, which has been a partner of CAF since 1993, had been granted exclusive broadcast rights to African soccer competitions from 2017 to 2028 worth $1 billion in an agreement signed with CAF in 2015, leading to the launch of an investigation in 2017.
Issa Hayatou was found guilty of entering into an anti-competitive agreement with Lagardere that damaged the federation financially and its reputation.
A report on Fifa's website said, "The investigation into Mr. Hayatou's conduct in his position as Caf president concerned his involvement in the negotiation, conclusion, and signing of the memorandum of understanding and contractual agreement for the marketing of media and marketing rights for Caf-organized competitions with the company Lagardere Sports between 2014 and 2017.
"Based on the information gathered by the Investigatory Chamber, Mr. Hayatou breached his duty of loyalty in his position as president of Caf by entering into an anti-competitive agreement with Lagardere Sport in the name and on behalf of the federation, which was detrimental and caused significant damage to Caf (both in financial terms, amounting to EGP 200 million, and in terms of its reputation).
"As a result, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr. Hayatou violated Article 15 of the current edition of the Fifa Code of Ethics and imposed on him a one-year ban from participating in any kind of football-related activity at the national and international level (administrative, sporting or otherwise)."
The ban takes effect Aug. 3, meaning he will not be at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.