Common Sense, it’s not often you get the chance to use these words in the same sentence as the acronym FIFA.
It’s also not often that you get a decision made by a footballing body that is that bad, that even Sepp Blatter and FIFA are embarrassed by it.
The decision made by The Confederation of African Football (Caf) to ban Togo from the next two Africa Cup of Nations for government interference was such a decision.
There is FIFA rules which state that governments shouldn’t interfere in a countries footballing matters, and that if they do that country can be punished.
But surely in Togo’s case, it was exceptional circumstances. What was the Togolese government supposed to do? After having their team bus shot at in an ambush, they had no option but to withdraw their team from the tournament.
The decision to then ban Togo from the next two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments looked very harsh to the outside world, a view not lost (surprisingly) on Sepp Blatter and FIFA.
Seeing that the dispute between Togo and Caf was heading towards the Court of Arbitration of Sport, FIFA decided to intervene, with Sepp Blatter personaly mediating between the two parties.
As a result of Blatters intervention, Issa Hayatou, the president of Caf has now agreed to ask his executive committee to lift the sanctions imposed on Togo in exchange for the Togolese admitting they broke the rules.
Blatter obviously pleased with himself said “This shows that we can solve internal disputes within the football family for the benefit of all those who are involved in our game, and in particular for the players”.
The Caf executive meet on 15th May to apparently ratify the decision, given the nature of African football and it’s politics, it might be just a touch premature to say this matter is definately sorted, so watch this space!