President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou wrote a formal letter to Gianni Infantino to congratulate him on his victory as new FIFA president.
Infantino succeeded his fellow Swiss compatriot in a clear-cut win over closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa during the election that held in Zurich on Friday.
The CAF initially supported Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa over the African candidate, Tokyo Sexwale. This may or may not have influenced his decision to step down from the presidential race some few minutes before the voting began.
However, some football associations of Africa were not in support of Hayatou’s endorsement of Sheikh Salman and some planned to vote for their candidate of choice. One of those included the chairman of Liberia’s Football Association, Musa Bility.
Hayatou had become Acting President of FIFA after the suspension of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was pending a criminal investigation regarding a mis-sold world cup TV rights and “disloyal payment” to Michel Platini in 2011. The former presidential candidate who ran against Blatter in 2002 stated that he would not be a candidate for the FIFA presidency, stating that, “a new president will be chosen by the extraordinary congress on 26 February 2016. I myself will not be a candidate for that position.”
A letter dated 27th February 2016 was sent to Infantino, congratulating him and assuring him of the support of the CAF.
“We are confident that you will restore FIFA’s image backed by your career, skills, passion for football, understanding of the issues related to the future of football, and your desire to develop our sport around the four corners of the world.
“Be assured of the continued support of CAF, African members of the new FIFA Council, as well as our commitment to strengthening the excellent relationship between CAF and FIFA,” the statement said.