Home News Incarcerated Federation President Likely to Clinch Victory in Mali Football Elections

Incarcerated Federation President Likely to Clinch Victory in Mali Football Elections

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Femafoot Elections

Last week, young protestors took to the streets in Bamako, Mali, voicing their opposition to the likely re-election of Mamatou ‘Bavieux’ Toure.

In an unprecedented football election slated for Tuesday, Mamatou Toure, better known as Bavieux, is the sole contender for the presidency of Mali’s Football Federation (Femafoot). The twist? He’s doing it all from the confines of a jail cell.

Bavieux is currently incarcerated in Bamako, Mali’s capital, where he awaits trial. He is accused of siphoning off funds during his previous role as a financial and administrative director at Mali’s National Assembly.

At 66 years old, Toure has helmed Femafoot since 2019 and holds seats on the Fifa Council and the Confederation of African Football (Caf) executive committee. Although four men were initially in the running for the position, Bavieux was the only candidate to successfully clear the eligibility hurdle. This happened even before he was formally accused on August 9 by the Malian government for “crimes against public property, forgery, and complicity.” He, along with four others, vehemently deny the charges, which allege embezzlement of a staggering US$28 million from state coffers.

Before taking the Femafoot reins, Toure had an earlier career as a tax inspector and holds a master’s degree in auditing. The criminal charges span from 2013 to 2019, largely before he became Femafoot’s head honcho in August 2019.

Financial Red Flags

As the election approaches, Sport News Center Africa reports numerous financial irregularities during Toure’s Femafoot tenure. Notably, there are missing financial reports and complaints from national team coaches about unpaid salaries.

A recent audit conducted by Pyramis Group in March 2023 shows that Femafoot failed to remit taxes on behalf of its employees to the Malian government. Furthermore, nearly $50,000 was distributed to unspecified entities without board approval, violating the federation’s own regulations. When it came to selling sports equipment, the accounts were muddy at best, with tens of thousands of dollars unaccounted for.

Muddied Waters

This pattern of financial murkiness isn’t new. A previous audit from 2020 also highlighted failures in paying taxes and missing financial documents. Concerns were also raised about how Femafoot spent close to US$1.25 million in the final quarter of 2020 without executive committee oversight.

The BBC has reached out to Femafoot for clarification on these financial issues but is still awaiting a response.

Unopposed in the Race

Even though Toure faces serious accusations, he’s the only game in town for the Femafoot presidency. His would-be competitors have challenged his candidacy, stating that he should have declared the ongoing state investigations against him.

Fifa, which plans to supervise Tuesday’s election, states that it is closely monitoring the electoral process. Meanwhile, Mali’s Sports Minister, Abdoul Kassim Ibrahim Fomba, has also written to Fifa, citing “urgent” concerns over potential violations of electoral rules.

The Long Road Ahead

As these legal and financial tangles continue to unfold, no one knows how long Bavieux will remain behind bars. In the meantime, Mali’s national football team is gearing up for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, and its Under-23 team is set to compete in the Paris Olympics next year.

It’s like a soap opera, but with soccer balls and audit reports. Stay tuned.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Femafoot Elections

What is the main issue surrounding the upcoming Femafoot presidential election?

The main issue is that Mamatou ‘Bavieux’ Toure, the current Femafoot president, is the sole candidate for re-election and is running his campaign from a jail cell. He’s awaiting trial on charges of embezzling funds.

Who are the other candidates running for Femafoot president?

There are no other candidates. Toure is the sole candidate after being the only one of four men to pass an eligibility test. One candidate, Salaha Baby, did initially pass, but Toure successfully appealed his eligibility, effectively sidelining him from the race.

What are the charges against Mamatou ‘Bavieux’ Toure?

Toure is accused of embezzling approximately US$28 million from the state purse during his time as a financial and administrative director in Mali’s National Assembly. The charges cover a period between 2013 and 2019.

What financial irregularities have been reported within Femafoot?

Several audits have shown financial gaps and inconsistencies within Femafoot, such as unaccounted funds, failure to pay taxes, and questionable expenditures. An audit conducted in 2023 indicated that nearly $50,000 were awarded to unspecified parties without approval, among other issues.

Has FIFA or CAF made any comments on this issue?

FIFA has stated that it’s closely following the electoral process and that any disputes should follow established legal procedures. They’re also sending emissaries to oversee Tuesday’s vote, as is the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Why haven’t Malian authorities taken legal action against Femafoot?

Mali’s Sports Minister and other officials are wary of interfering too much in Femafoot’s affairs due to fear of a FIFA ban for governmental interference in football governance. This follows a ban in 2017 when the Malian government interfered in Femafoot’s operations.

What are the future football events that Mali is preparing for?

Mali has qualified for the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. Additionally, its Under-23 team will compete in the Paris Olympics next year.

What is the status of Mamatou ‘Bavieux’ Toure’s trial?

As of now, it’s unknown how long Toure will be in jail pending trial. Pre-trial detentions in Mali can last a long time, sometimes extending to two-three years.

Are the football teams and trainers in Mali being affected by these issues?

Yes, several of Mali’s national team trainers have complained about going unpaid for many months, highlighting the financial instability within Femafoot.

More about Femafoot Elections

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TechNerd42 August 28, 2023 - 11:34 am

How does someone even pass an “eligibility test” while in jail? Isn’t that kinda contradictory? someone please explain.

RealTalk_Anna August 28, 2023 - 1:10 pm

wait a sec. millions of dollars are missing and this guy is the only candidate. What’s going on Mali, srsly?

Music2MyEars August 28, 2023 - 3:08 pm

When life gives you corruption scandals, make it a hit single? idk, but this story has drama, suspense and plot twists!

JusticeSeeker101 August 28, 2023 - 3:45 pm

They need to clean house. ASAP. This isn’t just a football issue, its a corruption issue.

Conspiracy_Theo August 28, 2023 - 5:25 pm

This is why I have trust issues with sports orgs. Feels like there’s always some underhanded stuff going on. Always.

SoccerFan21 August 28, 2023 - 5:33 pm

Whoa, this is insane! A guy’s running Femafoot from a jail cell? you cant make this stuff up.

SportsJunkie August 28, 2023 - 9:52 pm

So Mali is going to Africa Cup of Nations and Olympics with this mess? Good luck, they’ll need it.

GameOn_Dude August 29, 2023 - 2:58 am

You think your fav sports league has problems? Step aside, Femafoot just took the trophy for most chaotic.

AfroBeatsLover August 29, 2023 - 10:08 am

Man, imagine being in jail and still being the sole candidate. This is next level stuff. or should i say, next cell stuff?

MovieBuff_Geek August 29, 2023 - 10:39 am

If this was a movie, ppl would say its too unrealistic. But hey, reality is stranger than fiction, am I right?


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