Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives of Egyptian authorities, the President of FIFA, Madam Secretary General of FIFA, Members of the FIFA Council,members of the CAF Executive Committee, Presidents of National associations, CAF partners, Ladies and gentlemen representatives of media, honorable and distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to first of all, thank for your presence here in Cairo on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations final that will close a historical edition. I am most happy to share with you the memorable moments that this AFCON Egypt 2019, that has brought and will remain forever in our memory.
Let us first salute this magnificent country Egypt which has received us and who worked hard to prepare everything, to renovate everything, to transform the venues in only five months after being awarded the hosting rights by the CAF Executive Committee.
Under the patronage of His Excellency Abdelfattah El Sisi, President of the Republic, our Egyptian friends mobilized themselves very quickly to meet the optimal conditions and welcome the 24 participating countries as well as welcoming a huge community of supporters from all over the continent.
I would like to thank my colleague and friend, the President of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Hany Abo Rida for having mobilized his team and for having overseen an incredible pace of work in order to be ready for the competition.
You have all been able to oversee and ensure the investment quality, the efforts made at all levels of the organization not forgetting these beautiful playing surfaces of an exceptional level that the players have so much appreciated.
For all these reasons, I ask you for a round of applause for Egypt and the Egyptian people.
CAF has embarked on a major reforms program that will lead our Institution towards the principle of evaluation of all competitions with the involvement of the development partners and in consultation with the coaches from the countries concerned.
At the Zonal level which now have modified statutes, I promise you a commitment of staff for monitoring the establishment of new rules that we want to see achieved in six (6) months. Each zone will receive from this season a subsidy of 500,000 USD which will give them an opportunity to do even more in terms of development.
Finally, as part of this restructuring of the Zones, CAF will fund the salaries of the Executive Directors.
In this stream of reforms, I must quote the important establishment of the Governance Commitee. CAF now has a body that will ensure the conformity of the rules and the transparency in all its undertakings and in all independence.
I must also mention the increase in grants allocated to National Member Associations which will rise from 100,000 USD to 200,000 USD annually.
Another measure which deserves your attention is the differential increase in indemnities of allowances paid to match officials and taken into account by CAF. These decisions all come into a new wave of reforms and are meant to give a new dynamic to the general activities of our Confederation.
I sincerely hope that all these reforms and all these sets of measures will not have difficulties in succeeding for this simple reason: we are still waiting to regularize the situation around the ownership of our official headquarters here in Cairo.
My dear friends,
I must be quite honest on this delicate subject: as long as Egypt does not sign the headquarters agreement here in Cairo, all these will be a vain word.
I want as proof what happened in Paris and which for me is a direct consequence of this general situation. I will never blame France for having engaged in this action. Quite the contrary, this has allowed us to have explanations on what we live on this Continent.
Take the case of the situation of our staff: how can one explain that 35% of our headquarters staff, from several African countries still cannot get a VISA to work here?
I consider this situation very serious and I ask today, what provisions would you like to take in such a business? We received many promises but I have not seen anything happen.
Many of you, among us, have not understood the real meaning of my approach to FIFA.
Ladies and gentlemen, the delegates, I have appealed to FIFA. This call is on my own initiative and I assume total responsibility. Faced with a situation that worsened step by step, I asked FIFA President Ginani Infantino to bring me an interim support.
He is also a man who has suffered a lot of critics but who was re-elected just recently with some 98% of votes. He is a leader comforted by undeniable trust. I found in him, a sensitive man, who loves Africa.
FIFA is the umbrella body of all Confederations; it is to FIFA that we must turn when faced with difficulties of such magnitude. President Gianni responded positively to my call.
He allowed me to ask our sister Fatma Samoura, FIFA General Secretary, to agree to accompany us in the implementation phase of new structures and more generally to help CAF to continue the reforms that we started, as well as follow the investigations that FIFA’s Governance Committee would like to engage on the management of the Central Administration.
Obviously, all these plans will have to be followed by a General CAF audit. I would like to further clarify my position in this collaboration with FIFA for which many nostalgic of a bygone era keep criticizing me.
I keep myself rooted in a traditional African education which asks that when I encounter difficulties or problems I solve them within my own family and never outside. Is it abnormal for a President of a Confederation to ask for support? I think on the contrary, this is commendable act.
I admit that in my capacity as President I do not have all the necessary expertise. I am and remain a politician who at all moments can appeal to anyone in his domain, likely to bring me the best resolutions, the best solutions.
Dear sisters, dear brothers, dear friends, I am today halfway through my term and I remain fully focused on the actions to be taken for the coming years.
In view of her experience at the United Nations, success of the sanitation program and turnaround of FIFA during the past three years, I remain confident in the next mission that Madam Fatma Samourah will lead us in.
Our reform package will have to move very quickly under the strong guideline of our Executive Committee and General Assembly.
It will also support the mission of our General Secretary, Mr. Mouad Hajji and his team made up of young African executives from diverse horizons to ensure the efficiency and the sense of anticipation we have began to feel at the secretariat.
In conclusion of this speech which summarizes the programs, activities, and future actions, I can say today that I am a man firmly attached to the exercise of my responsibility, happy to be at the helm of CAF despite the difficulties, maybe even, the immensity of this mission that you have entrusted me with.
As always I advocate for a strong CAF in all its components, the presidents of the National Associations, leaders, operational bodies, legends, Elders, the Executive Committee and Congress. All together with the necessary support from our Heads of State, fundamental support for we Africans, that we will continue to build, strengthen and stabilize the structures of our dear Confederation.
Thank you for your attention,
Long live African unity,
Long live African football,
Long live the Confederation of African football.