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FIFA declares Samoura's cleanup of African soccer complete

FIFA's six months in control of African soccer appeared to end when Fatma Samoura's temporary leadership of the continent's governing body was not extended on Sunday. Samoura, the FIFA secretary general, was dispatched to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in August with the task of cleaning up the organization.

FIFA declared Samoura's mission as “General Delegate for Africa” complete after a meeting of the CAF executive committee without mentioning the confederation's president, Ahmad, who has been subject to an ethics investigation. Ahmad has faced accusations of sexual harassment and bribery, as well as claims of personal and financial impropriety. FIFA's statement did not mention Ahmad.

Changes implemented during Samoura's mission include enhanced financial controls, better salaries for staff and new ethics structures, FIFA said. Details of an audit of CAF were not publicly provided after the meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

“The six month mission agreed between FIFA and CAF to help accelerate the implementation of the reform process in the African governing body is completed with the delivery of a set of findings, recommendation and proposals,” FIFA said.

“FIFA is happy that the joint effort made with CAF was done and delivered within the initial proposed time frame and reiterates its commitment to be at the disposal of African football to assist in the process of raising its level to the top of the world.”

After working with CAF general secretary Mouad Hajji and other experts, FIFA said Samoura “completed several reforms focusing on three pillars: good governance, financial management and internal procedures; efficient and professional organisation of competition; growth and development of African football.”

FIFA said it would work to create and finance a group of professional referees for Africa, ensure there is at least $1 billion available for the 54 nations to invest in infrastructure, implement unspecified governance changes and pursue changes to competitions “in line with the strategy” that was presented by President Gianni Infantino on Saturday.

Infantino told CAF leaders that the Africa Cup of Nations tournament should halve in frequency and only be played every four years. Infantino suggested annual under-16 and under-18 tournaments for boys and girls instead of the current under-17 events every two years. The boys’ tournaments could grow from 24 teams to 48 if FIFA’s ruling council agrees. Girls’ tournaments could grow to 24 teams from 16.

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