- Dear Members of the refereeing Committee;
- Mister Acting General Secretary;
- Dear instructors;
- Distinguished guests, all protocol observed;
I am particularly delighted to be here today. My presence here is first and foremost to congratulate you since you are now part of the elite of refereeing in the world. It is certainly in recognition of your performances and merits.
The FIFA badge, which you now have the honor to put on your jersey, is an invitation to do more and better. You will now be flag bearers of the African continent the world over. This is an opportunity for me to express my gratitude and that of the CAF Executive Committee for your decisive contribution to the development of football in Africa.
I want to encourage you and thank you for all the efforts you make every day to be better. I dare believe that this has been the case throughout the five days that this training lasted.
I urge you to continue in this direction and recommend to the Referees Committee to give priority to one thing in selection: merit. If the best ones are those selected and designated, logically the performances are due to improve and mistakes reduced.
I can assure you that we will spare no means to accompany you in this quest for excellence. A brainstorming is going on about the possibility of having your allowances, during CAF matches, paid directly by the Confederation and not the host federation. Nothing has been finalized but we try to have as much people as possible involved in that brainstorming to come out with the best option.
Our aim is to put the referees in the best possible conditions, because we know how hard and crucial is their mission.
Their decisions, often taken with a very short period of reflection, have an impact and consequences that can sometimes go beyond the sphere of football. We are working mainly for the development of the game of football. But no one can ignore the multiple stakes it carries. And you, referees, are at the heart of the game and the stakes. That shows how sensitive your mission can be.
Finally, my presence among you today is an opportunity to formulate a verbal warning to all the referees and those in charge of their monitoring. I tend not to make use of the yellow card by forgetting it voluntarily in the dressing room.
Any ethics breach, once proven, will be sanctioned with a direct red card, without prejudice to additional sanctions.
I invite those in charge of evaluation and monitoring referees to follow this path. We are confident in the fact that we have appointed the right persons for the job. I will like to remind them that, corporate solidarity in mistakes is detrimental to African football. Your silence or the absence of sanctions will make you accomplices. We will not hesitate to take our responsibilities, if you failed to take yours.
A new era is opening for African football. Together we must work to materialize it. Transparency occupies a central place in it, as I never ceased to recall it long before my election.
The conduct of the referees, on and off the pitch, and the decisions they make must remain faultless. This will be their decisive contribution to the realization of the program on which I was elected.
Dear participants, I wish you all the best for the rest of your career. And do not forget that now you are ambassadors of African football.
Long Live African Football