African club football set for ‘radical transformation’, PwC lands CAF reform contract

Professional service group PwC has been selected to support the substantial reform process for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) being overseen by Fifa, as initial meetings on the matter flagged up the need for “radical transformation” of the club game on the continent.

CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and Fifa president Gianni Infantino jointly inaugurated the CAF/Fifa Reform taskforce at CAF’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, as the process began in earnest. In July, football’s global governing body signed a protocol agreement with CAF to outline a road map for the two organisations to support the latter’s reform process.

The road map is being implemented with the close collaboration of Fatma Samoura, Fifa’s general secretary and general delegate for Africa, as well as CAF general secretary Mouad Hajji. Samoura and Hajji are working closely with the CAF administration and a group of experts on the reform process.

CAF has been at the centre of an ongoing crisis, with Ahmad currently under investigation from both the Fifa Ethics Commission and French anti-corruption authorities. Ahmad was arrested in Paris in June amid allegations of financial mismanagement and sexual harassment, before later being released by French police.

A tender to conduct a general audit of and overview of CAF, including a forensic audit, was issued on July 30 and received applications from seven companies by the deadline of September 6. Along with the Swiss branch of PwC, the applicants included the Nigerian and Tunisian offices of Ernst & Young, Ballympics International (UAE) and BDO, Control Risks and FTI Consulting in the UK.

PwC has been selected and its remit will include developing an internal due diligence plan with timing/phases; conducting an organisational and business review, including auditing of CAF accounts; and making any necessary recommendations or proposals with a view to ensuring full transparency of management processes.

PwC will submit its report to the CAF/Fifa Reform Taskforce by the end of November. Independent members of the Taskforce, spanning the political, judicial and financial sectors, were confirmed as its first meeting was held. Mali’s former Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, and Ghanaian judge Anin Yeboah have been appointed alongside Hossam El Shafei (Egypt), Janet Katisya (Kenya), and Martin Ngoga (Rwanda).

Infantino said: “If this CAF/Fifa cooperation succeeds African football will be even more envied around the world. You members of the task force are the foundation from which the future African football will be built. We count on your support, your passion and innovation.”

The initial work of the Taskforce has also seen 13 of the top ranking African club presidents and representatives meet with CAF and Fifa leadership to discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding the development and future of African inter-club competitions.

A statement issued by CAF read: “A consensus was reached between all participants that African club football needs to be radically transformed into a more appealing product. Concretely this means restructuring club competitions with the view to significantly increasing the number of African clubs playing at top level. This deep reform of African club football will help to bring it to a more global audience.”

CAF said a second meeting aimed at presenting a plan with “concrete steps” will be held shortly. Infantino added: “In the last two weeks 28 countries, more than half of Africa, have competed in qualifiers for the Fifa World Cup 2022. We were excited to broadcast these games live for the first time ever to the world via Fifa.com.

“A global audience of more than 10 million football fans tuned in to see the unique spirit and feeling of African football in action and we want to do even more to take African football global. The potential of African football is immeasurable and if we work hand in hand, everyone around this table playing their part, we can do great things for the development of the game we all love so dearly.”