The award is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of football, on and off the pitch.
The AFC thus recognizes Hayatou as a sporting leader with vast experience and whose “wise and timely advice has always been a decisive contribution for all those who have worked with him at the level of FIFA”.
Notably at the time when he assumed the presidency and led masterfully the finalization and adoption of reforms at the level of the umbrella body of world football between October 2015 and February 2016.
The AFC President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, also highlighted the continuous support the CAF president has always given to Asian football before presenting him with the prestigious distinction.
“Africa and Asia have similarities and face the same challenges. I am convinced that together, if we continue to speak with one voice, we can have transformations in the field, and we can look to the future with confidence and optimism,” Hayatou in a message of thanks to the audience of dignitaries made up of members of the UAE Government, members of the AFC Executive Committee, UEFA and the presidents of the federations that make up the AFC.
CAF was also validly represented during the ceremony in Abu Dhabi with the presence of Suketu Patel, CAF 1st Vice President, Almamy Kabele Camara, CAF 2nd Vice President and member of the FIFA Council, Mohamed Raouraoua, CAF Executive Committee member and Hicham El Amrani, CAF Secretary General.