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Why FIFA banned CAF Boss Ahmad Ahmad

FIFA ethics committee on Monday banned CAF President Ahmad Ahmad for breaching codes relating to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts, abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.

Ahmad, a former government official in Madagascar, was also fined 200,000 Swiss francs ($220,000).

Ahmad’s first term was clouded with allegations of financial wrongdoing and misconduct at the CAF headquarters in Cairo.

Ahmad, a 60-year-old, vice-president of world governing body FIFA, has been found to have breached codes relating to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts, abuse of position and misappropriation of funds.

“The investigation into Mr Ahmad’s conduct … from 2017 to 2019 concerned various CAF -related governance issues, including the organisation and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in CAF’s dealing with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities,” a FIFA statement reads.

An audit of CAF finances pointed to irregularities under Ahmad’s leadership. The report was ordered by FIFA while it effectively took over running the organization for six months.

CAF appeared to pay about $100,000 for 18 people, including Ahmad and the heads of some of the continent’s 54 national member federations, to travel on the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad – who announced his re-election bid last month ahead of 2021 March’s elections – is also facing a separate ethics investigation by football’s world governing body.

In a rare move, FIFA has split its investigation into two parts with Ahmad having asked for his ethics case to be resolved prior to the 12 November deadline for presidential candidates to be named.

After his bout of coronavirus, which he tested positive for on 30 October, delayed his hearing, this deadline was unable to be met.

He can appeal his sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) once he has received the full grounds for the decision, a process that can take up to 60 days.

Last month, the former head of Madagascar’s FA announced his intention to go for a second term in office.
This is now in major doubt as Mr Ahmad, who was elected CAF president in 2017, would have to pass an eligibility test to resume his place on the FIFA Council.

Any chances of re-election will be dependent on not only winning his appeal at CAS, but also ensuring said appeal is heard early enough to allow him to be confirmed as a candidate.

Should FIFA take 60 days to issue its grounds, Ahmad would be ineligible to stand for re-election since he would need to be cleared of any wrongdoing by 11 January, the date CAF is scheduled to formally announce the presidential candidates to its members.

Ahmad recently stepped back from leading CAF, stating medical reasons as he continues to recover from coronavirus, so leaving CAF’s first vice-president Constant Omari in charge.

“In accordance with its statutes, CAF announces that the current interim of Mr Constant Omari as President of CAF is extended,” African football’s ruling body said in a statement.

“CAF, which is concerned about the reputational consequences of this long procedure, maintains the schedule of all its activities and programs.”

The CAF election is scheduled for March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.

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