The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Ahmad Ahmad’s appeal against his five-year ban from all football-related activities by FIFA has begun at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
Ahmad is working tirelessly to overturn the ban so that he will be eligible to contest for next week’s CAF presidential election.
The 61-year-old, who took over from Issa Hayatou in 2017, was banned by the world football governing body in November 2020 after he was found guilty to have breached several of its ethics codes.
The native of Madagascar was dramatically restored as CAF president three months into his ban after CAS said the possibility of him winning his appeal should not prevent him from being able to campaign for the election, issuing a preliminary ruling.
Even with him being legally restored as both CAF president and FIFA vice-president, Ahmad is still yet to have the a clean bill of health to contest for the election next week as FIFA awaits a definitive ruling.
According to BBC Sport, CAS’ ruling is supposed to last for a day or two and they have said it will “render a final award shortly after the hearing, i.e. before 12 March 2021”.
However, FIFA has boosted its legal team going into the trial, so a reduced sentence, which may still affect Ahmad’s election hopes, is considered a likely outcome in the trial.
Four candidates registered to contest for the CAF top job. They are Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, Patrice Motsepe from South Africa, Senegalese Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania).
FIFA found Ahmad, who had the backing of 46 nations, to have broken ethical rules that are related to the issue of loyalty, offering and accepting of gifts, abuse of position and misappropriation of funds.
Nigerdeltaconnect had, in an earlier report quoted a FIFA statement to the effect that:
“The investigation into Mr Ahmad’s conduct … from 2017 to 2019 concerned various CAF – related governance issues, including the organization and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in CAF’s dealing with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities.
The offences against Ahmad were primarily related to approval of deals totalling $4.4m with a French company run by a close friend of Ahmad’s and the sponsoring of a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for Africa’s Muslim FA presidents.
The 2021 CAF presidential election will take place in Rabat, Morocco on Friday March 12, 2021.