Just when it seems that CAF has finally put its house in order, bringing transparency to its dealings in lucrative TV rights, it appears that this it may be business as usual regarding the sale of its TV rights, according to the findings of broadcasters with knowledge of live transmission.
Speculation had been rife that it’s business as usual, though Lagardere and its associate, LC2 apparently taking a back seat in the televising of the forthcoming AFCON.
This followed widespread reports of alleged malpractice involving Lagardere and former beleaguered CAF President, Issa Hayatou.
Current President, Ahmad Ahmad assumed office two years ago on an anti-corruption ticket, promising greater transparency in its dealings.
Last week, a tender was issued for an agency to manage CAF’s free-to-air rights in Africa, starting with AFCON 2019, in a move that signalled an end to Lagardere hold on these rights.
It was learnt that there are doubts about the sincerity of CAF in the ongoing bidding process for the AFCON 2019 free-to-air rights in Africa.
A broadcaster told our correspondent: “Some are questioning whether this is all a front. Sports management giants, Infront Media and Sports had been invited by CAF to bid for these rights. Infront was formed in 2002 to broadcast the FIFA World Cup 2002.
Another aggrieved broadcaster said: “Given the recent history of the sale of the AFCON rights in Africa may lead to questions as to whether there is really an open tender “process”. Some may go further and question whether this tender process is an affront to CAF’s pledge to transparency, an affront to football fans and an affront to Africa.
Investigations revealed that CAF Special Adviser, Hedi Hemel has links to Infront, albeit in his past. Hemel was CEO of French marketing outfit, TVMS and partnered with Infront as recently as 2016 in selling TV rights to the Olympics in Africa. Hemel resigned his post in 2017 to take up his position as Special Adviser to CAF boss, Ahmad.
It would be recalled that National Broadcasters across Africa boycotting the transmission again like they did in the 2015 and 2017 edition. Only 13 countries took it because of alleged deal with CAF’s former regime with LC2.