Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

Lawyers representing Samuel Eto’o, the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), have denied that the former striker has been notified of legal proceedings against him.

In a statement, French law firm Vey & Associes dismissed allegations made against the 42-year-old as “calumnious rumours”, adding that Eto’o had not been informed of any judicial action or been issued with any kind of summons.

Whilst widespread media reports claimed on Friday that the four-time African Player of the Year was facing action linked to match-fixing allegations, a Cameroonian police document spoke of allegations of “abuse of authority, corruption” and other unnamed claims.

These police reports appear to have been based on a redacted image of an official-looking document. Although the BBC has seen the image, it has not yet been able to obtain confirmation of its authenticity from the authorities in Cameroon.

Eto’o elected president of Cameroon FA
Eto’o situation ‘even more serious’ than Rubiales
This is not the first time Eto’o’s Fecafoot presidency has come into question recently.

Last week, a group of football officials in Cameroon sent an open letter to Fifa claiming that the world governing body had “remained silent” on allegations raised against Eto’o despite “numerous complaints and reminders from Cameroonian football actors”.

The signatories of the letter included Fecafoot executive committee member Guibai Gatama as well as the president and vice-president of the Professional Football League of Cameroon, the organisation that runs league competitions in the country.

Alleging that the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea player “continues to illegally impose himself on the Fecafoot presidency”, the letter said the situation was “perhaps even more serious” than the case involving former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales and World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, which resulted in Fifa suspending Rubiales for 90 days and initiating disciplinary proceedings against him.

It also accused Fifa of operating a “two-speed management” between Africa and Europe which had allowed the continent to become “a kind of enclave where you can take liberties with the ethics and exemplarity that sports leaders should embody”.

Responding to the letter, Vey & Associes said Eto’o had launched a series of reforms to reorganise Cameroonian football leadership and was supported by “the vast majority of stakeholders”.

They also described the letter as “harmful” and “defamatory”, adding that Eto’o’s “bold policy change” would arouse “resistance from individuals ready to do anything to avoid losing their income from corruption”.

In July, a group representing amateur clubs in Cameroon called on Eto’o to resign and cited “grave irregularities” within Fecafoot following an 11-1 vote by Cameroon’s Amateur Clubs’ Association (ACFAC) in favour of asking him to stand down.

At the time, their invited Fecafoot to comment on the nature of ACFAC’s claims but has received no response.

In August, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) began an investigation into allegations of improper conduct made against Eto’o, stating it had received “written statements from several Cameroonian football stakeholders” and would be “looking into these requests based on and in accordance with the Caf statutes and regulations”.

A Caf statement also said that on first impression the allegations looked “serious” but Eto’o would be “presumed innocent until an appropriate judicial body concludes otherwise”.

They also yet to receive comment from Fecafoot on Caf’s investigation.

During a glittering playing career, Eto’o was named African Footballer of the Year on four occasions, won three Uefa Champions League titles and represented Cameroon 115 times, winning two Africa Cup of Nations with the Indomitable Lions.

By Joy

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