Issa Hayatou was born in Cameroon on 9 August 1946 and enjoyed a successful career as an athlete, having played football in university and having been a member of both his country’s athletics and basketball senior national teams.

A physical education teacher, Hayatou took an important step in his administrative career in football at the age of 28, when he became the General Secretary of the Cameroon Football Federation - an institution he would go on to chair between 1985 and 1988. In 1988 he was elected as CAF President (Confédération Africaine de Football), a title he still holds today, and two years later he joined the FIFA Executive Committee. The Cameroonian has also been a member of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) since 2001 and has been serving as a FIFA vice-president since 1992.

On 8 October 2015, given the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee to provisionally ban Joseph S. Blatter from all football activities on a national and international level, Issa Hayatou assumed the Office of FIFA President on an interim basis, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee - according to article 32 (6) of the FIFA Statutes.