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Football: Chad plunges back into crisis as FIFA threatens

Football: Chad plunges back into crisis as FIFA threatens

Scheduled to take place on November 30, elections for the presidency of the Chad Football Federation were suspended by decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in N'Djamena. The reason? A referral from one of the candidates whose file had been invalidated, as well as the ongoing trial of the sole remaining candidate. Despite the pressure exerted by FIFA in an attempt to force the ballot, the world governing body came up against the refusal of the local authorities.

Chadian soccer suffers another crisis.

November 30, 2023 was supposed to mark a new beginning for Chadian soccer. After a suspension by FIFA, involving the exclusion of all national teams and clubs from continental and world competitions, followed by the setting up of a Normalisation Committee, the Chadian Football Federation was to know its new president. Two candidates were in the running, Tahir Hassan and Ibrahim Foullah. However, in the end, the Normalisation Committee invalidated Hassan's candidacy, leaving Foullah as the sole candidate for the post.

In a letter sent to Tahir Hassan, the Normalisation Committee accused him of falsifying documents in his application file. This automatically disqualifies him. For Tahir Hassan, this was further proof that some members of the body, starting with President Jacqueline Moudeïna, wanted to disqualify him in order to facilitate the election of their candidate. In a further sign of internal tensions and divisions, Nair Abakar, vice-president of the Normalisation Committee, refused to sign the minutes notifying Tahir Hassan of the invalidation of his candidacy.

Faced with this situation, the deposed candidate appealed to the N'Djamena High Court.After examining the petition as a matter of urgency, the court declared the elections suspended until it could rule on the merits. This decision was contested by Ibrahim Foullah, who believes that all the conditions for the smooth running of the elections had been met, and that the ousting of his rival for falsifying documents was justified. "All this is the fault of people outside soccer. They falsified documents even though we're a small community. We all know each other," he confided in an interview with RFI.

With the electoral process at an impasse, FIFA dispatched a delegation to the country to defuse the situation and push for the ballot to be held despite the single candidacy. This is yet another argument for Tahir Hassan to say that Ibrahim Foullah is FIFA's preferred candidate and that the world football body is pressing for his election.And all this while Foullah himself is on parole, awaiting trial on charges of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

Chad ready to risk another suspension

Although everything was done to ensure that the election could be held on the scheduled date, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in N'Djamena dispatched the forces of law and order to suspend the process. Uniformed men took possession of the ballot boxes to prevent the vote from taking place."The authorities don't want to be dictated to," a federal source tells Sport News Africa."They are prepared to risk another suspension rather than give in to any pressure."

Faced with the inflexibility of the Chadian authorities, FIFA arranged for its delegation on site, led by Gelson Fernandes, Regional Director of the Member Associations Division for Africa, to be granted an audience with the Prime Minister and Head of the National Union Government, Saleh Kebzabo. However, Chad's position remained unchanged at the end of the meeting, putting the country at risk of another suspension. A decision will be taken shortly by FIFA, while Tahir Hassan has decided to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A sign that this new soap opera is perhaps not ready to reach its epilogue.

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