AIPS URGES CAF TO RECONSIDER ITS INTENTIONS OF FORMING A NEW SPORTS JOURNALISTS UNION

The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) has called on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to reconsider its intention to establish a union of sports journalists, since the proposal is likely to contravene the independence of the press.

In a letter addressed to CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and signed by AIPS President, Gianni Merlo warned that there is also a danger that the activities of the intended union named: Confederation of African Sports Press, may be influenced by CAF and go directly against the principle of transparency which greeted Ahmad’s election as CAF President last year.

The letter warned that CAF’s initiative will likely create confusion and make less effective the ability of the press to fight corruption and match-fixing, which are currently the biggest evils in sport.

“I have read with interest and surprise that your Confederation is about to launch a new Confederation of African Sports Press. The outline of the initiative isn’t yet clear, but the philosophy behind the proposal is: the initiative directly contravenes the independence of the press. I do not know if this aspect has been evaluated… You may, in good faith, not have seen the dangers and perils of this initiative,” the letter said.

“I state, and maintain, that everyone is free to make choices and everyone is free to create journalistic organizations. However, when an official body, like CAF, is involved, then the situation changes. There is a danger that this initiative will hide less noble objectives of helping a new generation of journalists and that goes directly against the principle of transparency, which you embraced at the time of your election.

“Every initiative, which can help journalism emerge from the crisis across the industry, is welcome, but not when it conceals other objectives, less noble in nature”.

Mr Merlo also stressed that the creation of the body is likely to create a clear conflict of interest situation.

“In our opinion, the creation of an African Sports Press Confederation cannot be financed and launched by your Confederation, because this will entail a clear conflict of interests.

“This is our opinion, but, as I wrote, everyone is free to make wrong choices”.

The letter stressed that the AIPS was committed to collaborating with FIFA and other organizations to combat ills of sports such as match-fixing.

“AIPS has a 94-year history and strives to improve the culture of new and older generations of journalists. The Association is committed to fight alongside FIFA and other associations against corruption in sport and against match fixing, which is currently the biggest evil in sport.

“To win these battles it is necessary to be united, but your initiative tends to create confusion and therefore to make our actions less effective against the ills of sport”.

The letter concluded by suggesting that CAF may not have evaluated the implications of its actions, it could still remedy the situation.

“Perhaps you did not evaluate this negative implications and there is still time to remedy the situation. I believe in your good faith and in the ability to find a solution, because it is necessary that we fight the evils of which I have spoken together.

“Perhaps you did not evaluate this negative implications and there is still time to remedy the situation. I believe in your good faith and in the ability to find a solution, because it is necessary that we fight the evils of which I have spoken together.

“I greet you cordially and await your reply”.
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