Čeferin criticises Fifa’s hasty decision to appoint Fatma Samoura to oversee CAF

Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin has criticised Fifa’s hasty decision to appoint its general secretary Fatma Samoura to temporarily run the crisis-striken Confederation of African Football (CAF), claiming it could create conflicts of interest for the organisation.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino provided details of the appointment in a letter to the Bureau of the Fifa Council, which consists of the heads of each of the regional confederations, including Čeferin, who each serve as Fifa vice presidents. But the Uefa chief complained about the amount of time he was given to approve the decision, claiming he received Infantino’s letter at 1.50am and was asked to respond by 10.30am this morning.

As reported earlier, Samoura will be given the title of Fifa General Delegate for Africa on a six-month basis, starting on August 1. According to a memo seen by the BBC, her role will be to “conduct a root-and-branch review of governance of [CAF], oversee operational management of the organisation, and recommend where needed a series of reform efforts”.

Infantino’s letter indicated Samoura will retain her position of secretary general but “will delegate her functions within the Fifa administration in accordance with the relevant internal relegations”. Her six-month role could be extended with the approval of Fifa and Caf.

“I cannot be expected to have your proposal examined by Uefa’s legal team or consult the European members of the Fifa Council on a subject of such great importance in such a short time,” Čeferin wrote to Infantino in a letter seen by The Associated Press. “Never in the history of our institutions has the Fifa Secretary General, who under the Fifa Statutes leads the organization, been placed on secondment to take control of a confederation, even with the latter’s consent.”

Čeferin said the appointment raised a “large number of questions and, in particular, the likelihood of ‘conflicts of interest’” and questioned whether it complied with Fifa and Caf statutes.

He concluded by saying he was not in possession of enough information to approve Infantino’s proposal.

Uefa and Fifa have clashed repeatedly over a variety of issues in recent months. The governing body for European football asserted its opposition to Fifa’s proposals to revamp the Club World Cup in March. And in a sign of the increasing bitterness of the feud between the two organisations, Uefa registered trademarks relating to Fifa’s proposed global nations league in February.