Issa Hayatou has been appointed the acting president of FIFA. Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Jerome Valcke were suspended for 90 days on Thursday as investigations into football’s governing body continue. Blatter, 79, is suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs – around £1.3million – to UEFA president Michel Platini which was “at the expense of FIFA.” All three are banned from all football activity but deny any wrongdoing. Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa’s football confederation (CAF) will act as president during Blatter’s ban.
Hayatou has said he will not be a candidate for the FIFA presidential election come February 2016 but can his interim presidency help usher in an African substantive FIFA president? We’ll see.
Hayatou, having being born in the Cameroon, was initially a middle-distance runner and primary school teacher. He represented Cameroon nationally and joined the international basketball team. He is married with four children and his brother Sadou is a former Prime Minister of Cameroon. His family have a strong wield on politics in the Cameroon. Hayatou was named as the secretary general of the Cameroon Football Association aged just 28 back in 1974. 12 years later he was named as the chairman. He was appointed onto the CAF executive committee in 1987 and assumed his role as the CAF president in 1988 – a role he still holds today. Hayatou was one of the key men behind the rise of African football over the past 20 years and has overseen successful World Cup appearances from African teams. He has been instrumental in rising the African places at the World Cup finals from two places to five – and six when South Africa claimed a berth as hosts. Hayatou presided over both the bid and the organising committee for the 2010 games, which was the first time it was ever held in Africa. Hayatou attempted to win the FIFA presidency in 2002 – but lost to Blatter by 139 votes to 56. Hayatou had forged a close relationship with UEFA leaders and as a result did have the backing of the top European football leaders at that time – however, it wasn’t anywhere near enough.