Following recent governance issues and corruption in African football, FIFA, the governing body of football in the world, has taken on an unprecedented move to manage the game on the continent.
FIFA said on Thursday that its secretary-general, Fatma Samoura, was appointed "FIFA General Representative for Africa", a newly-appointed role that seeks to improve the governance of African soccer.
Samurai, from Senegal, will be in control for six months from August 1, with the relationship "renewable with the agreement of both organizations".
"It was also agreed that FIFA and Caf will take over Caf as soon as possible," a joint statement from FIFA and CAF said.
The decision, which came on the eve of the kickoff of the African Cup of Nations, was seen as a surprise by many. Analysts say it is a confirmation that the African Football Association (CAF) – the continent's top football body – has not been able to cope with the many issues that have emerged recently.
CAF has been informed of the wrong reasons in recent times. Earlier this month, CAF chairman Ahmad Ahmad was questioned by the French authorities as part of a survey on corruption, breach of trust and counterfeiting. The 59-year-old was released later and rejected allegations as "false."
Issues also arise when the recent African championship final fell off noisily after a boycott caused by the failure of the VAR system. Critics have expressed further concerns about redefining the schedule of the World Cup finals of 2019, 2021 and 2023.
Following these issues, Ahmad suggested the idea of seeking FIFA expertise to help assess the current situation of the CAF and speed up the reform plans aimed at ensuring the organization's transparency and efficiency. AFP References.
56-year-old Samoura will remain the general secretary of FIFA, but will transfer various functions to others. Her work will cover many areas, including supervising the CAF's operational management, ensuring the "efficient and professional organization of all CAF competitions" and supporting the development and development of football in all African regions.
These roles, which will run until January 31, were unanimously approved by the executive committee of the CAF, according to the statement.
Although Fifa is used to designate so-called normalization committees to oversee members' associations that need help with administration and other issues, it is rare for the world football governing body to help a confederation in similar difficulties. BBC References.
Although the CAF welcomed the latest move, there is tension between all the leaders of the regional confederation that is the FIFA office for settlement. Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president of the European football administration, raised questions about the legitimacy of the move.
He wrote in a letter AFP that the appointment "raises a large number of questions and in particular the likelihood of conflict of interest".
"It is inconceivable to send a letter in the middle of the night (received at 1:50 am) and wait for a reply from me at 10:30 on the same day. I am always ready to help but the FIFA Council office does not must be reduced to a simple rubber stamp function, "he wrote.
"Never in the history of our institutions the Secretary-General … was not seconded to take control of a confederation, even with her consent. You must understand that this is not the type of decision to be taken lightly and in rush. "
Meanwhile, FIFA, which does not explain why Ahmad remains in power rather than a continuing ethics survey, said that Samura's move is necessary to "bring stability, peace, professionalism and effective football development to the African continent where the passion for football is so widespread. "
Currently, observers are eager to see what the Senegalese football governor would bring to the table, as the African Nations Cup is about to begin in Egypt.
Samura took her job as Secretary General of FIFA by Jerome Valcke in May 2016, who was found guilty of maladministration and was fired in June 2016.
Many welcomed the nomination of Samurai: she was to be the first woman to hold FIFA's second strongest position.
The critics, however, have raised questions about whether Samura could succeed by considering that he had no previous sporting experience.
Others also wanted to know why FIFA had taken so much time to bring a woman or a non-European woman to her executive.
FIFA President Yannis Infantino had this to say about Samurai when he was given the role.
"Fatma is a woman with international experience and vision that has worked on some of the most demanding issues of our time," he said.
"It has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and to improve the way organizations perform, and it also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-organized and responsible organization."