April 10, 2017 By Sahr Morris Jnr
Contentious decisions on African football’s television rights and tournament hosting agreements will be reviewed in the coming months, new Confederation of African Football president Ahmad said on Friday.
The possibility of changing the timing of Africa Cup of Nations finals is also on the cards, as well as the qualification process for junior tournaments.
“I will be discussing with as many stake holders as there around African football to come up with the best solution for the problems,” Ahmad, who uses only one name, told a media conference in Johannesburg after meeting with presidents of southern Africa’s football associations.
The new Caf president, who comes from Madagascar, pulled off an upset triumph over long-term incumbent Issa Hayatou in last month’s elections.
Ahmad said he was concerned about a 12-year television deal that Caf signed last year with French-based Lagardere Sports.
“This contract is the subject of a judicial challenge in the Egyptian courts at the moment and it was to protect the integrity of Caf in this issue that the general secretary Hicham (El Amrani) submitted his resignation, which we accepted,” he said.
“We will investigate but I am concerned about the length of the contract. I would never sign anything for longer than three years.”
Lagardere Sports hold the television and marketing rights over all Caf’s major properties and have guaranteed African football a minimum of $1bn (£807m) in income over the next 12 years. Last month’s Caf Congress was told this could be more in the region of $1.5bn (£1.2bn).
Ahmad said he would also consider switching the hosting of the Nations Cup from January to mid-year and also look at its two-year frequency.
“It is the big stars who make this tournament and I will be talking to them to see how they feel. This is something where we need to consider many different points of view,” he said.
African footballers at European clubs are under increasing pressure to forego the tournament because it falls in the middle of their club season.
Ahead of January’s finals in Gabon, nine players took the unprecedented step of turning down call-ups to play for the country in order to stay at their clubs.
Ahmad said Caf would also look at regionalising qualification for its Under-20 and Under-17 Championship.