Former African Football Confederation head Issa Hayatou was given a one-year suspension from football-related activity by FIFA’s ethics committee on Tuesday, for violating competition restrictions with a $1 billion TV and marketing rights deal with France’s Lagardere Sports.
Cameroon’s Hayatou, 74, must also pay a 30,000 Swiss francs (28,000 euros/$33,000) fine after the committee’s adjudicatory chamber found the former FIFA vice-president and interim president breached article 15 (Duty of Loyalty) of world football’s governing body’s ethics code.
Between 2014 and 2017, the inquiry into Hayatou’s conduct as CAF president centered on his role in negotiating and executing a memorandum of understanding and contractual arrangement with Lagardere for the monetization of media and marketing rights of CAF-organized tournaments.
Hayatou had breached his duty of loyalty as CAF president by engaging into an anti-competitive deal with Lagardere on the organization’s behalf, which had harmed the organization financially as well as its reputation, according to the committee.
In a 2015 agreement made with the CAF, Qatar-based French-owned Lagardere Sports Agency, a CAF partner since 1993, was granted a $1 billion exclusive broadcasting rights deal to cover African football games from 2017 to 2028, resulting in the beginning of an investigation from 2017.
After losing an election to Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad in March 2017, Hayatou stepped down as CAF president.
He was named honorary president of CAF in January and served as FIFA interim president from October 2015 to February 2016, following Sepp Blatter’s suspension and before Gianni Infantino’s election.