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CAIRO (AP) — FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised unwavering support for the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional African soccer confederation on Thursday as he deflected criticism by Sepp Blatter and others that FIFA was exceeding its authority by overseeing a cleanup operation to stem the embarrassment.Speaking to African soccer officials at their meeting in Cairo Cheap Juventus Soccer Jerseys , Infantino said he had “to laugh” in the face of Blatter’s criticism that FIFA was engaging in modern-day “colonialism” by sending secretary general Fatma Samoura to oversee a six-month forensic audit and administrative reform of the Confederation of African Football.“I have heard about colonization, that FIFA is colonizing Africa again,” Infantino said, a clear reference to the statement released by former FIFA boss Blatter to the BBC this week. “What does it mean, colonialization? I don’t know. It’s not part of my vocabulary. But I know what it means to work, to team up. … We all suffer when we see what is going on here (at CAF).”Samoura, Infantino pointed out, is from Senegal, so African herself.Blatter said FIFA’s involvement also flouted its own rules. National associations are members of FIFA but continental bodies like CAF are not. FIFA also managed to work past opposition to the move by some within CAF’s executive committee to agree on a roadmap for reform.Infantino was “puzzled” by the criticism, he said.Instead, Infantino framed the issue — hugely embarrassing for soccer’s largest continental confederation and the FIFA vice president who leads it — as just another challenge for the world soccer family to overcome.He said CAF’s current predicament wasn’t as bad as the FIFA corruption scandal of 2015, which led to the downfall of some the most powerful men in world soccer, including Blatter, and brought Infantino to power.“We turned the boat (around),” Infantino said. “We intend to do the same for Africa and for CAF.”That belies the reality that it’s another stark failure by soccer leadership and a leader whom Infantino backed.Ahmad, the president of CAF and a FIFA VP, is at the center of the crisis and the subject of allegations of corruption and other misconduct. He has denied wrongdoing but was taken in for questioning by French authorities while attending a FIFA meeting in Paris last month. He is also the subject of a FIFA ethics committee investigation.Among other things Cheap Soccer Uniforms , Ahmad is accused of improper business deals, misusing CAF money on expensive cars, sexual harassment of staff, and cheating on his expenses.He sat next to Infantino at the congress at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Nile and called for African officials to stand and applaud for the FIFA head.A former politician in Madagascar, Ahmad was surprisingly elected to lead African soccer in 2017 when he beat longtime CAF president Issa Hayatou in an election. Ahmad promised to stamp out corruption and modernize CAF, making it transparent and efficient. He was held aloft by jubilant supporters in the minutes after winning that election and hailed as a liberator of African soccer.Two years later, it’s in crisis and Ahmad, who hadn’t held any senior roles at CAF before he was elected president, is accused of driving the organization into the ground. The bottom line was delivered on the congress floor on Thursday when CAF announced a $17 million loss for the financial year ending June 30.“We are lagging behind all (other) confederations in all aspects,” Ahmad said before that financial blow was delivered.Under Ahmad, the executive board running African soccer has been undermined by infighting. CAF announced after its meeting that senior vice president Amaju Pinnick of Nigeria had been removed from his role as one of three VPs under Ahmad. The Nigeria Football Federation said there were “fundamental differences in focus and direction” between Pinnick and Ahmad.This was CAF’s first major meeting since the announcement last month that FIFA would take the unprecedented step of overseeing the complete reorganization of one of its confederations. CAF, with 56 countries affiliated to it, is the largest of FIFA’s six continental bodies.FIFA secretary general Samoura, who formerly worked for the United Nations, will move to Egypt as FIFA general delegate for Africa to lead the cleanup for six months from Aug. 1. The work will start with a financial audit to detect “potential wrongdoings,” according to a roadmap agreed by FIFA and CAF. Samoura’s term can be extended and she will be aided by a group of outside experts.The deal has been portrayed by both parties, publicly at least Cheap Liverpool Soccer Jerseys , as a partnership, with Ahmad seeking out FIFA’s help and FIFA responding. NEW YORK (AP) — DaMarcus Beasley wants to stick around soccer when he retires at the end of the MLS season.He just wants to move upstairs.Beasley has no interest in coaching, but he wants to try the management side of the sport he has played for decades. And the captain of the Houston Dynamo thinks he has something to offer, too.“I would love to learn the business side of football,” Beasley told The Associated Press. “What it takes to put a team together day-in, day-out. That part of it intrigues me a lot.”The 37-year-old Beasley is heading into the final stretch of a decorated playing career. The Dynamo (9-13-3) have dropped four in a row heading into Saturday night’s game against Colorado, and they are going to need a strong finish to extend Beasley’s 20-year career into the playoffs.Beasley is the only American to play in four World Cups or appear in a Champions League semifinal. The former PSV and Manchester City left back played his last international match during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which concluded with the U.S. missing the World Cup for the first time since 1986.Beasley thinks structural changes are needed to get the U.S. back into soccer’s premier event, but concedes much of the minutia eludes him.“Do I want change? Yeah. Do I know the ins and outs about how to go about it? Not really,” Beasley said. “Once I think I get into that role, or whatever role I’ll be in on the business side of football, then I’ll know this needs to change, that needs to change. This is the way this could work.”Beasley, a Fort Wayne, Indiana native, believes ego is getting in the way of that institutional change.“All the soccerheads, we all want the same thing. I think one thing we all need to stop doing Cheap Manchester City Soccer Shirts , 100%, is that everyone thinks they know everything. No one wants to listen. A lot of coaches just say that my way is the right way. Very stuck-up, very ego-driven,” Beasley said. “That part I don’t like. I have my own schools, my soccer camps, and if I try to go to another city, they’ll say ‘Oh no, I know what I’m doing. We don’t need anything.’ It’s like, I’m not trying to take over anything. That part needs to change, 100%. The egos with the people that have power to make decisions. They need to change and open their minds and try to one day, hopefully win the World Cup. That’s what the whole thing is about.”America’s youth soccer system has been cited by critics as part of the problem. The United States’ pay-to-play programs can make it more difficult for some households to participate.“More of the rich kids get a chance than the little guy that just works just as hard and is probably even better but doesn’t have the ends to make ends meet and to make those sacrifices for their kids,” Beasley said.Another oft-cited inadequacy is a reliance on athleticism as opposed to developing individual skill and team harmony. Beasley stressed that American soccer’s policymakers need to be open to diversifying its on-field philosophies.“To have one style it’s — we’re not Brazil,” he said. “We can’t keep saying, ‘Oh, we want to be like Brazil. We want to be like Argentina.'”
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