With the crisis in African football at the moment many know the name of the main protagonists but the name of Tarek Bouchamaoui is heavy in the politics but the Tunisian is, unknown to most African audiences he is still member of the FIFA Council and CAF Executive Committee.
He is not a man of football, he is not a man of track records in football, he is not a member association leader, and rather a singular individual and it is surprising that he wields huge influence yet is the main architect of many dangerous things.
Simply put, he does not exist within the African sports movement.
He is 53 and CEO of HBS, a holding dealing with capital funds and an oil company, created by his father and managed by few members of his family, he does not have any experience as a sports manager on the continent.
His only historical act is the unbelievable story of his election at the FIFA Council when the international media laughed at his result: 54 votes for among 54 voters, “never seen before!” as former FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter put it bluntly even though they both plotted this unseen electoral success
How did he manage to get 100% of the votes? Which strategy did he use to get there since the African audience does not know him?
Close to the former Tunisian president Ben Ali, overthrown by his people in 2011, Tarek Bouchamaoui tried unsuccessfully to be elected as president of the Tunisian association. The majority of the Tunisian regions and teams, strongly opposed his candidacy and he had to stay away from national activities.
He lives between Egypt and Dubai, providing “support” – financial inducements by extension vote buying – here and there to some presidents of African member associations. He was the head of CAF referee Committee for three years. The biggest scandals and injustices took place under his leadership.
Africans did not find any success under his reign: no innovating reforms, no training for referee officials, and no strategic planning for committee that resulted in many grave blunder for the referees resulting in some bans and sackings.
Back on track, thanks to President Ahmad who gave him another chance to shine as head of the committee for the Inter-Club Competitions, Tarek Bouchamaoui was, one more time, under the water with no imagination to boost Inter-Club competitions or implement new guidelines.
We can affirm without any doubt that this person is responsible for most of the mess African football finds itself as he is said to be the financial force in disrupting the game through his financial power.
His last attitude in Tunis, at Rhades Stadium, during the second leg of the TOTAL CAF Champions League final, between Esperance and Wydad Casablanca, is still vivid in the memories of those who were there, guests and CAF members: petty and partisan behaviour of an excited Esperance fan, opposing the match commissioner and his own colleagues of the Executive Committee.
This resulted in one of the controversial incidents in African football.
Which credit should Tarek Bouchamaoui receive as someone who puts his own business interests before taking any action?