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Egyptian prosecutor refers Hayatou, Amrani to economic court


(Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

Egypt’s general prosecutor referred head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou and its secretary general Hicham El Amrani to the country’s Economic Court over charges of breaching Egyptian competition law.

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) had issued a statement in January in which it referred Hayatou to Egyptian prosecution for allegedly violating the broadcast law by not putting the CAF TV rights out to a competitive tender.

In June 2015, the CAF granted the broadcasting rights of the main regional competition in Africa from 2017 through to 2028 to French group Lagardère. The French company has also been awarded the rights for the period between 2008 and 2016.

The ECA claimed the CAF renewed its deal with Lagardère without opening up bidding for other companies, accusing the CAF of “abusing its dominant position” by doing the deal.

According to a previous statement by the ECA, the CAF had deliberately ignored several requests to open up broadcasting rights to tender in a way that would ensure fair competition and preserve the rights of Egyptian football fans.

ECA head Mona el-Garf welcomed the referral decision, saying that the CAF practices have negatively impacted the market and the Egyptian football fans.

CAF had issued a statement on Sunday, prior to the official referral announcement by the ECA, saying the decision was based on “unsubstantiated charges and allegations.”

“Any suggestion whatsoever of impropriety in relation to the commercial agreement is utterly without foundation and completely and vehemently denied. CAF will vigorously defend its position, its rights and reputation using all legal means available under international law,” the CAF statement read.

The CAF added that renewing Lagardère deal came following an extensive period of negotiations, saying the deal represented an enormous increase in the revenues guaranteed to CAF for its marketing and media rights, which secures significant and guaranteed funds for the benefit of African football over the next 12 years.

Hayatou, who has been the president of CAF since 1988, is standing for re-election to an eighth successive term of office in the March 16 presidential election but faces opposition from Madagascar’s FA President Ahmad.

Editor-in-Chief at Pursuing a master's degree in sport policy, management and international development at the University of Edinburgh.

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