Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad has been banned for five years by FIFA for breaching various codes of ethics.
The 60-year-old, a 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 read. Mr Ahmad has also been fined $200,000. He has previously denied any wrongdoing. Ahmad – who announced his re-election bid last month ahead of 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. Mr Ahmad recently stepped back from leading CAF, stating that he had done so for ‘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.”