Cameroon federation rejects Eto’o’s resignation

Samuel Eto’o tendered his resignation as president of the Cameroon Football Federation on Monday only to have it rejected by its executive committee.

Eto’o, who won the African player of the year a record four times, has been dogged by allegations of improper conduct, match-fixing and corruption.

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The federation said its executive committee met in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, on Monday to evaluate the national team’s performance at the Africa Cup of Nations, and that the meeting started with Eto’o offering to step down while inviting the other members “to do likewise in good faith.”

“At the end of discussions and subsequent deliberations, the members of the executive committee decided to maintain their current mandates and thus unanimously rejected the president’s resignation thereby renewing their confidence in him to continue with the same spirit of reconstruction and development of Cameroon football at all levels as envisaged in his plan adopted by the elective general assembly of Dec. 11, 2021,” the federation said in a statement, referring to the date Eto’o took over as president.

The federation made no mention in the statement of any other decisions taken or conclusions drawn. Cameroon coach Rigobert Song’s future was uncertain after a disappointing Africa Cup campaign.

Cameroon, the five-time champion, needed a win in its final group game to be sure of progressing to the group stage, scored late to achieve it, and was then eliminated by Nigeria after a lackluster performance in the round of 16.

Eto’o, who celebrated with the team after its dramatic win over Gambia in their final group game, has been dogged by corruption allegations in the last year.

Last week, The Athletic reported that it had seen WhatsApp messages, emails, letters and audio recordings that allegedly support a wide-range of accusations, including “match-fixing, abuse of power, physical threats, inciting violence and spreading false information in Cameroon.” It said a file had been sent to FIFA’s ethics committee and that it is also being investigated by the Confederation of African Football.

CAF was already investigating what it said were “serious” allegations from “several Cameroonian football stakeholders” against Eto’o. It noted that the former Barcelona and Inter Milan star was “presumed to be innocent until an appropriate judicial body concludes otherwise.”

Questions were raised in Cameroon about Eto’o’s ambassadorial role with a sports betting company. At least one club complained to the Cameroonian federation about the deal, which could violate the institution’s codes.

Cameroonian soccer had plenty of problems in the past. Before Eto’o was elected president, the national league had been tainted by interference from the government, allegations of corruption and broken promises from soccer leaders.

Eto’o played at four World Cups for Cameroon between 1998 and 2014.

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