Hayatou becomes second most powerful man in FIFA

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter has confirmed Issa Hayatou, the head of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), as the senior vice-president of sport’s world governing body.

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It means Hayatou is now the second most powerful man in global football. Blatter confirmed the Cameroonian’s role at the latest meeting of Fifa’s executive committee.

Hayatou’s post means that he would step in to replace Blatter as head of Fifa should the Swiss become incapacitated for any reason.

Julio Grondona, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) president, who previously held the post died in Buenos Aires at the age of 82.

Meanwhile, Guinea was chosen to host the 2023 African Cup of Nations in an unscheduled vote on Saturday, with African football head Issa Hayatou describing the surprise decision as a display of “solidarity” with the Ebola-hit country.

The Confederation of African Football announced Cameroon as host of the 2019 Cup of Nations and Ivory Coast for 2021, but wasn’t scheduled to vote on who would stage the 2023 tournament.

“CAF wanted to show solidarity with the people of Guinea in this hard time,” Hayatou said at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia.

Yet CAF President Hayatou also announced after a two-day meeting of the executive committee that the ban on games in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia would remain in place until further notice because of the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded.

Nearly 500 people have died of the deadly virus in Guinea in an outbreak which swept into Sierra Leone and Liberia. The total death count in the three countries stands at over 2,000, according to the World Health Organization.

Bringing a week of meetings in Ethiopia to a close, Africa’s football body repeated its backing for FIFA President Sepp Blatter for re-election next year, with Hayatou praising Blatter by saying the 78-year-old Swiss helped Africa host its first World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Blatter has announced he will stand for a fifth term in May.