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Former President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou will learn his fate in Egypt’s Economic Court today over charges of violating local anti-monopoly rules in a multi-million dollar broadcasting deal.
Hayatou and the then General Secretary of CAF Hicham El Amrani are standing trial over charges of violating the country’s competition law by granting exclusive broadcasting rights to a single company without a tender.
The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) started to investigate the Lagardere deal in June 2016, prior to asserting – in January 2017 – that Caf had engaged in monopolistic practices that infringed local laws.
The deal gives Lagardere rights to a variety of African football competitions, including the flagship Africa Cup of Nations, from 2017 until 2028.
With Caf based in Cairo, Egyptian authorities maintain it is governed by local laws and the court is expected to rule on the matter on Monday in Cairo.
Hayatou and Amrani firmly reject accusations they committed any wrongdoing when signing a multi-million dollar deal with sports agency Lagardere in June 2015.
The Cairo Economic Court held several hearings in the case against Hayatou, who is accused of violating Egypt’s Competition Law in selling exclusive broadcast and sponsoring rights to Lagardère Sports.
The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has accused Hayatou and the confederation’s Secretary-General Hisham El-Omrani of violating the competition law by granting exclusive broadcasting rights without a tender.
Dr. Mona El-Jarf, head of the Competition Protection and Prohibition of Monopolistic Practices Authority of Egypt, accused Hayatou and El Amrani of violating article 8 of paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of Law 5 of the protecting competition and abuse of the exploitation rights.
This is in regards to the broadcast rights of the Africa Cup of Nations which was awarded to French company Lagardere Sport for 12 years from between 2017 and 2028 without offering it to other companies wishing to bid.
The ECA referred the case to the prosecution early last year, asking for the suspension of the commercial contract between CAF and French company Lagardère Sports, saying it violates Egypt’s anti-monopoly laws.
The 70-year-old Hayatou lost his position as CAF head, which he held for 29 years, after losing elections last month to Ahmed of Madagascar.
The CAF was founded in 1957 in Khartoum by the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese football associations.
Egypt maintains that since Cairo is home to the CAF headquarters, the decisions of its officials are subject to the country’s laws.