Safa files complaint over Afcon decision

Russell Paul
Image: Supplied

The South African Football Association has complained to the Confederation of African Football about crucial procedural oversights in their bid process for awarding the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to Egypt on Tuesday.

Safa is bewildered that‚ as one of the two bidders, it was never officially informed about Caf moving its executive meeting in Dakar‚ Senegal, on the hosting from Wednesday to Tuesday.

Safa said that no inspection team was ever sent to SA.

In a letter to Caf, Safa complained that arrangements for a SA government delegation to be in Dakar were derailed by the change.

The Egyptian FA‚ it said‚ and its delegation were in Dakar for a few days before Tuesday.

Safa acting CEO Russell Paul confirmed that Safa had only heard about the change of date of the meeting “through the grapevine”.

Egypt were voted to replace Cameroon as hosts by 16 votes to one.

Safa’s letter‚ addressed to Caf deputy general secretary Anthony Baffoe‚ reminded the African controlling body that its own process stated that there would be “evaluation of bid books‚ pre-selected applicants’ announcement‚ possible requests for additional information and possible on-site visits”. It continued: “In addition‚ we were previously advised that Caf would make a formal announcement on January 9 2019‚ and we arranged for a government delegation to be present.”

However, Safa had learnt unofficially on Monday that Caf would make the announcement on Tuesday evening.

It had not yet had any official notification of this.

“We have reliably learnt that the Egyptian FA is in Dakar‚ with a delegation ready to make a presentation to Caf‚ and accompanied by government officials,” the letter read.

“We consider this process that is unfolding as highly irregular and reserve our rights regarding the procedural matters on the awarding of the host country for Afcon 2019.”

Paul confirmed that no inspection team had visited SA.

“There was never an inspection team that arrived in South Africa‚ or that requested to come to South Africa.

“So‚ that gives an indication of on what basis did they evaluate‚ by their own procedures?

“There was a company hired to evaluate.

“That company also did not send an inspection team.

“They did it by remote control.

“We had actually set up a delegation to go there for the 9th‚ [but] the Egyptians had already been there for a few days.”