Embattled Confederation of African Football, CAF, president Ahmad Ahmad has been sanctioned with a ban from all football related activity at both national and international level for five years.
The ban was announced amid the Madagascan official’s campaign to be re-elected for a second four-year term as the head of his continent’s confederation.
In a statement the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee stated:
‘’ The committee found Ahmad Ahmad, the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a FIFA Vice-President, guilty of having breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the 2020 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 (Misappropriation of funds) of the 2018 edition’’, the statement read.
The investigation into Mr Ahmad’s conduct in his position as CAF President during the period 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 dealings with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities.
In its decision, following an extensive hearing, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that, based on information gathered by the investigatory chamber, Mr Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President, pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The statement added: ’’ the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Ahmad had breached arts 15, 20 and 25 of the current edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 of the 2018 edition, and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years’’.
In addition, a fine in the amount of Swiss Franc 200,000 approximately Ksh.24 Million has been imposed on Mr Ahmad .
The ban throws wide open the race for CAF Presidency race which has so far attracted former Fifa Executive Committee Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) , Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe (South Africa) , Mauritania Football Association president Ahmed Yahya, have all had their candidacies announced so far.
Caf’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Morocco on 12 March.
Ahmad Ahmad’s Woes
Ahmad Ahmad, submitted his candidacy in October but his ability to contest March’s elections has been in constant doubt.
Ahmad stood for the presidency then on a platform promising administrative reform, financial transparency and a potential competitions reorganization.
However all of this was soon relegated to the shadows by a damning report about the realities submitted to FIFA in 2019 by Amr Fahmy, then the CAF secretary-general.
Fahmy claimed he had been ordered by Ahmad to pay $20,000 in bribes into accounts of African FA presidents and that CAF had incurred $830,000 in costs by axing an equipment contract with Puma in favour of a little-known French intermediary named Tactical Steel.
The report also accused Ahmad of harassing four female members of the CAF staff, amending statutes to increase Moroccan representation within the organisation and over-spending more than $400,000 of CAF money on cars in Egypt and Madagascar, where Ahmad had created a local office for himself.
Ahmad denied all the accusations; Fahmy was sacked.
The following June, also in 2019, Ahmad, one of FIFA’s seven vice-presidents, was detained for 12 hours for questioning by French police while in Paris attending FIFA Congress. No charges were brought.
Two weeks later FIFA dispatched its Senegalese secretary-general Fatma Samoura to effectively take over the running of CAF for six months.
Samoura seized control of various broadcast rights negotiations despite anger among local football bosses who resented the imposition of a woman over their heads.
Samoura’s mission was brought to an end by FIFA president Gianni Infantino – originally a supporter of Ahmad – early this year.