HomeCentral AfricaCameroonLawyer Defends Samuel Eto'o Against Match-Fixing and Betting Allegations

Lawyer Defends Samuel Eto’o Against Match-Fixing and Betting Allegations

The lawyer of the president of Fecafoot, Samuel Eto’o gave some details related to the hearing of his client before the CAF disciplinary panel in Cairo, Egypt.

At a time when questions are being asked about the outcome of the hearings and the verdict of the Confederation of African Football on June 25, Samuel Eto’o’s counsel is breaking its silence. Florian Mbayen, who is a Cameroonian lawyer at the Paris Bar, was at Samuel Eto’o’s side at the CAF headquarters. Speaking to Christophe Boisbouvier on RFI, he spoke about the accusations of organising match-fixing and signing a contract with a sports betting company against the president of Fecafoot.

First of all, on the atmosphere during the hearings, the lawyer indicated how much his client is tried by this ordeal. “It is a particularly difficult ordeal for Mr. Eto’o because this time to find himself among the defendants for such fallacious, so light reasons, was particularly trying. And it was all the more trying because this whole procedure was flawed, to say the least. So, it’s a whole bunch of breaches that have punctuated this case, which have made the case difficult, complicated, which have made the life of the disciplinary jury complicated because it had to manage a case that was very, very badly put together. So that’s what led to long hearings. However, we have faith in the independence of this disciplinary panel and we hope that it will be able to ignore any outside intervention,” he said.

Then on the accusation of organizing match-fixing to promote the first division club Victoria United to the first division, which can lead to a lifetime suspension from any football-related activity, the lawyer’s response was clear. “I would answer that it would be very poor to know Samuel Eto’o who has an exemplary career as a footballer. He has never been involved in the slightest ethical problem during his entire playing football.

So, it is in total contradiction with its values, its ethics. These are fanciful accusations which, in my opinion, reveal other intentions (…) Mr. Eto’o categorically denies any involvement. These are not his values, these are not his ideas. And in the interview, Mr. Eto’o affirms his values. He tells his interlocutor that there are procedures, if he has grievances against officials, these grievances must be the subject of reservations.

These reservations are then brought to the commissions which will rule and decide,” he said. ” Yes! Mr. Eto’o called, he admits, Mr. Nkwain [Victoria United president, Editor’s note], because Nkwain had interrupted a football match and he was threatening to leave the championship because he was annoyed that his team was suffering, according to him, a certain number of violations of arbitration rules.

So, it was following this incident that Mr. Eto’o called Mr. Nkwain. Now, the content of the recording that was produced, we have requested its rejection in court because it is impossible to authenticate it. It has not been authenticated. So, Mr. Eto’o did have a conversation with Mr. Nkwain following an incident that Mr. Nkwain triggered at a football stadium but I cannot guarantee that the communication produced by his accusers resolved the actions of their exchanges,” he added.

Finally, on the subject of the sponsorship contract with a sports betting company, Me Mbayen tried to clarify certain misunderstandings. “Mr. Eto’o has effectively concluded, as president of the Cameroonian football federation, a pre-contract with 1X Bet, which is a sponsor of Fecafoot. This pre-contract was signed in May because Mr. Eto’o could not be present for the signing of the final contract. But it is a contract between Fecafoot and 1xBet, and not Mr. Eto’o personally. Then there was a pre-contract ceremony on May 27, 2023. A pre-contract between Fecafoot and 1xBet. And the final contract was reiterated on June 30 and was signed by the vice-president of Fecafoot. What Mr. Eto’o is accused of is not the signing of this contract. This is because he is accused of having signed a contract in a personal capacity. Mr. Eto’o has never signed a contract personally. He provided proof of signing the two contracts,” he said. It should be noted that the CAF decision is still awaited.

Aniedi Ekwere
Aniedi Ekwere
Author/Consultant Find More Africa/AA Advisory, We provide betting reviews, thought leadership articles in the emerging markets, business development on products/ platforms in Africa with solid networking relationships with gaming operators in Africa, and Expertise in PR and marketing communication, and iGaming Consulting Services.

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