The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has lifted the FIFA ban against Africa’s former football boss and former world association interim boss Issa Hayatou for violating the code of ethics.
This was announced by the independent court on Saturday. The CAS justified its acquittal for the 75-year-old Cameroonian with insufficient evidence.
The ethics committee of the world governing body FIFA banned Hayatou from all football activities for a year in August last year.
The reason was a multi-billion dollar television and marketing contract for events organized by the African continental association CAF, which Hayatou concluded in 2015 in his capacity as CAF President with the French marketing group Lagardere.
Not least because of the unusually long term of the deal from 2017 to 2028 and the correspondingly lower income for the CAF, the FIFA ethicists saw a breach of loyalty obligations by Hayatou towards his organization as proven. Hayatou is also said to have disadvantaged other interested parties when the rights were granted.
The CAS assessed the available findings differently and did not see sufficient evidence of Hayatou’s misconduct and thus also not of a violation of FIFA’s ethics guidelines. The ban against the former top official must therefore be annulled, according to the CAS verdict.
Hayatou has been one of the key players in the international football business for several decades. Hayatou was at the top of the CAF for 29 years before the former basketball player and track and field athlete was voted out of the Continental Confederation in 2017. At FIFA, Hayatou acted as interim president from 2015 to 2016 between the suspension of former association boss Joseph S. Blatter and the election of Gianni Infantino (both Switzerland).