By Andrew Warshaw

Anouma 03-12-12December 3 - The battle to take control of African football has taken a significant new twist with the announcement that the Ivory Coast is planning to nominate Jacques Anouma to stand against Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Issa Hayatou in next March's elections in Morocco.

An Ivory Coast Football Federation (FIF) statement said it would be putting forward 60-year-old Anouma as a candidate before the deadline on December 9.

Yet it is by no means clear whether Anouma's bid will be deemed constitutional and whether he will be able to run.

In September, Hayatou engineered an amendment in the CAF statutes that allows only voting members of its executive committee to run for Presidency.

The change was overwhelmingly approved at a special CAF Congress in the Seychelles, suggesting that Anouma would be defeated if he tried to challenge Hayatou.

Anouma is a member of CAF's Executive Committee but only because he serves as one the continent's representatives on the equivalent at FIFA.

He therefore has no voting rights but has been widely critical of the amendment.

He is supported by Liberia, one of a handful of countries to vote against the recent change.

Last week Liberia took the issue to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but the challenge was rejected on a technicality because CAF's own appeals system had not been exhausted.

issa hayatou Jacques Anouma 03-12-12FIF are putting forward Jacques Anouma (right) to take on Issa Hayatou (left) for the CAF Presidency

Liberian officials, who claim the CAF amendment was passed through fear rather than genuine support for Hayatou, wanted interim verdicts to block the change in the statutes, which took effect today.

"What we are saying is: 'If you want to be the leader of the people than you must get their approval through an open and transparent system'," Liberia Football Association (LFA) President Hassan Musa Bility told the BBC.

Anouma, a former President of FIF, has long been touted as an alternative to Hayatou, who has been virtually untouchable since taking charge of African football in 1988.

The 66-year-old from Cameroon has twice before faced a challenge for his position but crushed his opponent both times and wants to stay on until 2017 for one final term.

Last year FIFA was forced to withdraw its appointment of Hayatou as chairman of the Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic football tournament because he was being investigated for alleged corruption by an independent Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of which he is a member.

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