The head of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has expressed his obligation to secure the release of the president of the Malian football federation (Femafoot) from incarceration. The Femafoot president is currently detained on charges of misappropriating public funds and falsifying documents, as revealed by the Guardian.
In remarks that may violate Fifa’s standards of ethical conduct, Patrice Motsepe also stated that he and CAF have been actively communicating with officials in Mali regarding the release of Mamatou Touré from imprisonment.
Touré – a member of the influential Fifa council – remains in custody in Bamako after he was refused bail last week after an appeal by public prosecutors. He was indicted on 9 August by the Malian government and accused of embezzling a reported $28m (£22.4m) from the state purse during his time as a financial and administrative director in Mali’s national assembly. Touré has denied the allegations and was re-elected as president of Femafoot for a second term in September despite being behind bars.
Motsepe – the South African mining billionaire businessman who has been Caf’s president since 2021 – underlined his support for Touré when he spoke to journalists on 13 October in Abidjan at the draw for next year’s African Cup of Nations.
“Please convey my greetings to our colleague today – he remains in our thoughts and prayers,” Motsepe expressed about the 66-year-old, who also holds a position on Caf’s executive committee. “We are continuously working towards his release from prison through ethical and legal means. It is my responsibility, as well as the responsibility of all of us at Caf.”
A representative from Caf stated that the organization upholds the laws and legal procedures of all African countries. They also expressed their support for the implementation of proper legal measures in accordance with international standards. The president of Caf, Dr Motsepe, reaffirmed their dedication to ethical and lawful practices. After reviewing the press conference, which has been re-listened to, there is no proof to support the allegation of “interference.”
Fifa’s code of ethics state that “in dealings with government institutions, national and international organisations, associations and groupings, officials shall … remain politically neutral, in accordance with the principles and objectives of Fifa, the confederations, associations, leagues and clubs, and generally act in a manner compatible with their function and integrity”. Fifa did not comment when contacted by the Guardian.
In September of last year, Motsepe received backlash from supposed victims and Fifpro for openly showing support for the president of Gabon’s football federation, who is currently in prison. Pierre-Alain Mounguengui is facing trial for failing to report instances of sexual abuse allegedly committed by several coaches in Gabon, as originally reported by the Guardian. There is no indication that Mounguengui himself has been accused of sexual abuse. He has not addressed the charges.