CAF denies Hayatou referred to prosecution in Egypt; says broadcast contract is lawful

Mostafa Ali , Thursday 5 Jan 2017

Issa Hayatou, Senior Vice President of the FIFA walks after delivering his speech at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has denied reports that its president Issa Hayatou has been referred to the Egyptian prosecution for violating the law in selling the exclusive rights to broadcast African football competitions to a French company, including the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

A statement issued on the CAF's official website on Thursday said that "it should be noted that in the letter sent to CAF by the Egyptian Competition Authority, there is no mention of any prosecution against the president of CAF, whether for acts of corruption or something else."

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) said in a statement earlier Thursday it has referred on Wednesday the CAF chief to the general prosecution for the sale of the African Nations Cup exclusive commercial rights to French firm Lagardère Sports, which the ECA says is a violation of Egyptian anti-monopoly laws.

On the basis of the contract between CAF and Lagardère Sports, Egyptian TV channels are not legally entitled to broadcast the national team's football games at the competition, which will be hosted by Gabon starting 14 January.

The African football body said that "after evaluating the different offers submitted and in strict compliance with the existing contractual clauses," it agreed to renew the contract with Lagardère Sports for the 2017-2028 cycle in June 2015.

CAF, whose headquarters is based in Cairo, asserted that the contract with Lagardere does not breach "national or supranational legislation," while maintaining that "the marketing zones for audiovisual rights do not apply only to CAF competitions but correspond to a universally recognized division, notably in the marketing of the rights of sporting events."

The football body provided the FIFA World Cup as an example of the validity of their position, stressing that marketing is never done on a country-by-country basis.

Egypt will kick off their Nations Cup campaign on 17 January against Mali.

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