Before this week, CAF held a long term contract with French Media Conglomerate; Lagardere Sports in which it was CAF’s exclusive agent in regards to commercial deals. Furthermore, the French company was to pay the African football ruling body a total of $1 billion over the time duration.
Just like most of the other sponsorship deals across the continent, this seemed to be an undervalue of African football which led to a lot of criticism and investigations against the deal.
Lagardere’s contract was heavily criticized by many Executive Committee members saying they were not consulted by President Issa Hayatou and also that they had not seen the contract at all.
The current CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad also heavily criticized the contract upon being elected as CAF President in 2017.
The final stroke on the camel’s back was when investigations into the deal by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) and the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (CCC) in 2017.
The ECA found that the contract violated Egyptian Competition rules since no open tendering was carried out meaning the deal was signed in an anti-competitive nature with fraudulent motives.
After the findings, ECA went on and nullified the contract suspending all its activities on the Egyptian market and also obliged CAF to immediately terminate the deal.
CAF Cancels $1 billion dollar contract with Lagardere Sports due to violations
Across the Sahara South, it was also found out that the deal was not linked with the CCC Competition Rules hence nullifying the deal and also fining Confederation of African Football.
Due to too much pressure, the Confederation of African Football had no choice but to terminate the contract.
Lagardere has come out in a statement and said it will contest CAF’s action which they deemed a “unilateral decision” that was “unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified.”
Lagardere further said CCC is yet to issue its final decision and the Confederation of African Football should be supporting it during the ongoing CCC investigation but not terminating the deal at this stage.
The French Company ends, “Failing this, Lagardere will take any action to defend its interests and obtain compensation for any harm it suffers.”
This CAF-Lagardere row should worry any African football fan because as it goes, all broadcasters who had acquired rights to air African Football competitions like CAF Champions League, CAF Confederations Cup will or may have to halt the process until the misunderstandings are settled.
Also read: Uganda Premier League Match 13 Preview
Author: Katende Basajjabaka
Katende writes about sports and occasionally technology.