02 February 2018 04:40
The President of FIFA,
The Minister for Youths and Sports,
Members of Government of the Kingdom of Morocco,
The General Secretary of FIFA,
Members of the CAF Executive Committee
Presidents of National Associations,
Dear CAF Partners,
Honourable and distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish first and foremost to thank you, all of you, guests and participants, for your presence here today at this session of our General Assembly (GA), the very first ordinary GA of my mandate.
It will, it should, mark a decisive turning point in the way CAF business is run as from March 16, 2017, the date of our election.
I would especially like it to be that of our strengthened union, of our identical perception on major strategic issues; I would like it to cement the oath of commitment that I took vis-a-vis the trust you afforded me, and the continued support that you have for CAF activities.
May I, before I go into further details, express my warmest and most sincere thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco which is hosting us today, and to the King of Morocco, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, for the exceptional reception he has reserved to the entire African football family.
Morocco no longer needs to demonstrate the extent of its orgnanisational capabilities, or the strength of its aptitudes in order to convince us of its willingness to serve football, our football, and the Confederation Africaine de Football in the best possible conditions.
Thank you heartily.
In about a month, we would be having the anniversary of our first year of managing the Confederation Africaine de Football.
Many weeks and months have gone by since we started a very grand project of
- renovating our structures,
- reforming our statutes,
- reinforcing our rules and regulations,
- modernising our administrative management
- optimizing our procedures.
The trajectory covered so far is considerable, but we are just still at the beginning of concretising our promises, our many promises.
We have not gone about shaking off habits or destabilising entire sectors of our activities, but thanks to a perfect coordination, with you on the field, we have got the correct pace of introducing changes, and integrating them into our mode of operation.
At our Extraordinary General Assembly in Rabat in July 2017, we presented a new write up of our statutes, which you unanimously approved. We set up new eligibility conditions for the President of CAF.
It was at this occassion that the Executive Committee took the decision to make an annual subvention of $100,000.00 to each national federation with immediate effect, as well as an indemnity to the presidents of all the national associations.
The first among the projects was that which had to rethink the format and periodicity of our competitions.
We met in Rabat last July and during a historic Symposium, major decisions were taken:
The Africa Cup of Nations, our famous AFCON, will now be played with 24 national teams and will be organised from June-July.
The Interclubs have been reinforced, and the brilliant success of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) which we are experiencing here in Morocco, since January 14, is still to be added to the good news list.
It is an essential turning point, and an adequate response at last to a dire expectation of our national associations.
It is a measure of great historical signification due to the popularity of the event, and it is a definite measure that was lengthily debated upon and finally approved.
We now have to test it, move it around, nurture it to grow and promote its visibility.
The greatest competition on our schedule should be
We will mobilize ourselves and make every effort for its organization, its progress, its international dimension and its success next year.
Ladies and gentlemen, my dear colleagues,
The 10-month period we have lived together has brought to our awareness the magnitude of the task that awaits us.
I have just listed a few of the actions already done or which are in progress, but there are many, quite many, that deserve to be mentioned:
- the modification of interclubs competition dates starting from the 2018-2019 season.
- The revision of the content of coaches' Licences and CAF's professional coaching Licence.
- Three days ago in the company of Mr Fouzi Lekjâa, the Vice President of CAF, we officially launched CAF PRO in Rabat, which is henceforth obligatory to be able to coach on the African continent.
- It is a very significant progress.
- We also undertook profound changes in zonal qualifiers of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, slated for Tanzania in 2019.
- Two other historic decisions were recently taken by CAF's Executive Committee,
- the first is to take charge of match officials indemnities:
- Referees, assistants, Commissioners, would be henceforth directly paid by CAF.
- It is a far-reaching measure affecting about 650 matches per season and which should reduce the disbursements and budgets of national federations.
- The second decision is even more important: in effect we have decided to provide the 5 qualifying Afican teams for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup with a sophisticated high technology equipement called FIELDWIZ, capable of given simultaneous information on the physical and medical health of a player during training or during a match.
I considered that this high grade equipment should also be used everywhere on the African continent.
CAF has thus decided to extend this measure to all of our national associations.
This is an action with a consequent cost, but CAF did not hesitate for medical follow-up and prompt intervention on the health of a player is non-negotiable.
I equally wish to give account on actions of our Central Administration.
During our Congress in Manama, in May 2017, and for the first time in its history, CAF got for itself a new organisational chart.
Its implementation started more than two months ago with the appointment of a new General Secretary in the person of Mr Amr Fahmy, and two Deputy General Secretaries: Mr Anthony Baffoe in charge of Football, development and competitions, and Mr Essadik Alaoui who is responsible for managing the Administration and Finances.
Presently, we have just launched the second phase of this new plan to recruit directors who will fill up this organisational chart intended to trigger a new rhythm of work with a road map for every Division.
In this lot of reforms and changes, the Executive Committee has put in place Standing Committees with a significant reduction of members also a reduction in the number of committees.
We are on track to opening up CAF to all of Africa, and not just a CAF with staff at the headquarters from one nationality.
This was a firm promise of my electoral campaign and I am pleased that we have already implemented it to about 50%.
My dear colleagues, my dear friends, you can see it:
Since we took office at the Confederation Africaine de Football, a lot has changed, sometimes drastically, sometimes partially.
But we have worked hard to put these changes in place and we have had tremendous support.
FiFA has been by our side from the very start.
Its President, Mr Gianni Infantino, has been relentlessly listening to us; has been a precious guide and a precious partner.
I wish on behalf of you all to thank him for the punctuality of his support for the new management of CAF, and for his faithfulness to African football.
I would like to assure him of our loyalty.
I cannot leave out the input of our partnership with UEFA thanks to which we undertook capacity building on youth competitions. It assists us and partners with us in the launching of zonal tournaments for youths.
For a longtime, UEFA and CAF never had such rapprochement, and I should highlight it.
I must now talk on a subject that preoccupies us all:
Morocco's candidature for the hosting of 2026 FIFA World Cup.
On this subject, I would like to remind you of this:
Some decades ago, developing countries became conscious of the fact that the only way to get rid of underdevelopment was to adopt south-south cooperation.
The results at this level have been slow, and are yet to manifest, but as concerns football Morocco has succeeded.
Today, the Kingdom has shown its capacities on many strategic domains.
It supported CAF during a sensitive period in its history, it helped and continues to help many African national federations, African clubs as well in their preparations and many actions have been jointly carried out with African countries.
I wish to thank the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, and reassure it of our total committee toward the 2026 World Cup adventure.
Democracy within our Confederation accords every latitude to the presidents of our national associations, but I exhort them to get back to our tradition of unity and our African culture of friendship and help to one another.
I am the President of the 54 member countries and I would like that my commitment in favour of the candidature of Morocco should not be doubted. It is the entire Africa that is directly impacted by the commitment of Morocco.
Lastly, there is a truth we should show the world: in a century, our continent has organised the FIFA football World Cup only once.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends,
I wish to thank you for listening to me talk about my first balance sheet, which is the fruit of a very strong, very united, very motivated collective work.
We still have a long way to go.
We have to work with all our might to
- equate actions,
- build new projects,
- succeed in revamping the central administration and
- of course, above all else,
- succeed in projecting CAF,
- solidly implant the new governance, and
- expose our competitions globally.
With your support, we have to maintain African Football in the spotlight.
Long live the Confederation Africaine de Football.