Football's world governing body is not in favour of extending the current term of office of Cameroon Football Federation president Samuel Eto'o from 4 to 7 years.
Less than a year after the election of Samuel Eto'o, the Cameroon Football Federation (Fécafoot) has amended the term of office of the association's president. This has now been extended from 4 to 7 years, with the term renewable only once. But it will take much longer for this provision, adopted at the General Assembly on 27 August 2022, to come into force.
Sport News Africa has learned that FIFA has not approved the new version of Fécafoot's statutes. "FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote to the president of Fécafoot several months ago," reports an informed source. "In her letter, she invited the Cameroonian leader to convene a new General Assembly before the end of May 2023. The aim was to cancel the point concerning the modification of the term of office of the president of Fécafoot and return it to 4 years". As requested by FIFA, the Fécafoot General Assembly took place in Yaounde on Saturday 27 May 2023. The big news is that there is no mandate extension for Eto'o.
Article 37 of Fécafoot's new statutes, relating to the modification of the president's term of office, is not the only "innovation" of the Eto'o era. Several provisions have been tailored to the needs of the governing body. Article 36, relating to the general conditions of eligibility, stipulates in paragraph 1.b that any candidate for an elective post must not have "been sentenced to a final custodial sentence accompanied by a detention order". In other words, any individual who has been convicted by the courts may stand as a candidate in an election, as long as he or she has not been sent to prison.
According to Cameroonian analysts contacted by Sport News Africa, the aim of this new provision is to allow Samuel Eto'o to remain in office until the end of his term, and then stand again, even though he was found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to 22 months in prison by the Spanish courts in June 2022. "Paragraph 1.d of article 36 of the old statutes disqualified him and stripped him of his status as president of Fécafoot. This stipulated that any citizen who had been sentenced to a final custodial sentence with a simple suspended sentence or with probation of more than six months could not be a candidate", a journalist explains.