Sports

African football body Caf in disarray, audit reveals

An audit into the state of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has revealed an organisation in a state of disarray – both with regard to finances and governance.

Carried out by Pricewaterhouse Cooper, the audit describes Caf’s accounting as ‘unreliable and not trustworthy’ as it highlights transactions totalling in excess of $20m which either have ‘little or no supporting documentation’ or are considered ‘higher risk.’

One area it suggests further investigating is ‘the role played’ by Caf President Ahmad and his attaché Loic Gerand, among others, in the deal with French company Tactical Steel – some of whose financial dealings with Caf are described as ‘highly suspicious’.

Ahmad has already strenuously denied any wrongdoing with regard to this case.

The forensic audit – which was complicated by Caf’s tendency to make most of its payments in cash – also suggested considerable reforms were needed throughout Caf.

The organisation’s structure is described as being over-reliant on decisions made by the Executive Committee (ExCo), despite the latter meeting ‘once a quarter, resulting in delays in key decision-making and preventing managers of Caf departments from making timely business-critical decisions’.

In addition, a lack of clarity in Caf’s organisational structure has left departments ‘understaffed’ and existing staff both ‘overworked’ and ‘generally demotivated’.

The confidential audit, a copy of which has been seen by the BBC, was carried out as part of the unprecedented decision to send Fifa’s Secretary General to improve the governance of African football’s ruling body.

Fatma Samoura concluded her six-month role in early February, whereupon she presented her findings to leading figures in the Caf administration, who have said they will address the recommendations laid out by a joint Fifa/Caf taskforce.

These include, among others, major restructuring of Caf’s organisational hierarchy, introducing a term limit for both the President and ExCo members and the introduction of an ethics code.

Whether ExCo members, who determine their own salaries and bonuses according to an audit which suggests amending this, are prepared to approve fundamental changes when they meet on Friday is another matter.

“More than 30 years of an outdated and patriarchal management at Caf have resulted in important shortcomings at all levels of operations,” Caf said in a statement earlier this week.

“Caf will persevere … to ensure that we achieve the highest international standards.”

The damning audit highlights a raft of financial deals which require further investigation, with Caf President Ahmad, a 60-year-old from Madagascar, one of those under scrutiny.

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