#TRPolitics: SCALA’S TERM LIMIT PROPOSITION IS AFRICA’S GAIN
If Domenico Scala’s eight-point reform proposal is adopted by FIFA’s reform taskforce with Francois Carrard at its head, then Africa might just be looking into the future with a ‘new lease of life’ in the shortest period of time, writes Telema Davies.
Issa Hayatou, senior vice-president and Executive Committee member of FIFA, has been at the helm of affairs at the Confederation of African Football since 1988 till date. According to Domenico Scala’s proposal, this is a pattern that requires institutional reform if the world governing body and its confederations and member associations must make a shift from the immediate past and change global perception of its operations.
Scala, who since 2013 has been the Head of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, said at a news conference: “A number of issues have their root cause in the fact that people have stayed for far too long,” a narrative that pretty well tells the story of Issa Hayatou who has for 25-years been a member of the FIFA executive committee and a year longer as president of CAF.
Though largely, Scala’s reform objective are focused on FIFA, it is without gainsaying, that his proposal is instructive as to the changes needed across the confederations particularly at CAF.
In June when Sepp Blatter in a letter addressed to announce his resignation barely two weeks after he was re-elected for a fifth term as president of FIFA, he had called for “deep-rooted structural change”. Earlier in the statement, Blatter admitted that, “the Executive Committee includes representatives of confederations over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible.”
Blatter’s sentiments have received acknowledgement in Scala’s plan as he “…made it very clear when Mr Blatter laid down his mandate that it was not only about the change of presidency but that there were certain systemic issues that need to be addressed.”
If such ‘systemic issues’ such as longevity of tenure are addressed, it will set a precedence of intent for the overhaul of governance structures in Africa’s football governing body.
Domenico Scala said: “…this is a watershed in terms of role and perception going forward.” A perception, it will be said, that for true reforms to take effect at FIFA, then such changes must be initiated with the confederations whose executives form the core of decision makers on the global stage. It can no longer be business as usual for the progress of football the world over.
Africa may have Hayatou to thank, but change beckons
Issa Hayatou has overseen a broader inclusion of Africa on the global stage and a considerable measure of the growth of football on the continent.
The most significant of these changes had Hayatou pushing for African places at the FIFA World Cup™ to increase from two to five with appearances by Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, and Ghana. The 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, saw the continent garner a sixth automatic spot much to the credit of Hayatou who presided over both the bid and the organising committee for the 2010 mundial, the first in Africa.
Club competitions have undergone growth in both numbers and scale on the continent. Although, it is no close as attractive as their respective counterparts in other climes, it is without a doubt that the benchmark for progress has been laid.
Twenty-six years is quite some period of significance to have offered leadership to the continent’s football governing body. Political instability and the economic quagmire in home nations of member associations have contributed directly to the longevity of Hayatou’s tenure. The slow pace of technological revolution across the continent has equally provided a lacuna for football authorities to thrive on the non-participation of the citizenry in the organization of the game.
Domenico Scala’s proposition for term limit might play out as the most significant of intent to institute changes for football in Africa, should the citizenry through governments of their respective home nations seize the opportunity for structural changes. This, in addition to other key ideas such as an improved level of governance at the confederations and member associations as well as improvement with regard to structure and decision making, will set the continent as not just a dominant force of reckoning but an influential and pragmatic player within the global setting.
Although, how these reforms will play out leaves much for expectation. Adoption of same by FIFA’s reform taskforce in December, will serve as a vote of confidence on the mandate to Scala to “oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures." Scala also serves as Chairman of the ad hoc Electoral Committee and will oversee the election of Blatter’s successor in February. Perhaps, this time around the Swiss football aristocrat will not have his efforts for changes, blocked.
Liberian FA president Musa Bility, South African business man Tokyo Sexwale, former Nigerian footballer Segun Odegbami as well as a former state governor of a Nigerian state Orji Uzor Kalu, are the Africans to indicate they will run in next year’s election. However, the Confederation of African Football issued a statement that they will not support Bility’s candidature.
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