Although the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the suspension of Ahmad Ahmad, he will not be able to run for a second term as head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).By Oumar Dembélé
Ahmad is not off the hook yet.
It is a cold shower for Issa Hayatou’s successor who was hoping to win his appeal to the CAS.
The sports official had been suspended for five years by FIFA’s Ethics Committee.
The independent institution based in Lausanne, Switzerland, had a less heavy hand even though it maintained virtually all the burdens.
“The CAS Panel has partially upheld the appeal and has reduced the length of the suspension imposed on Mr. Ahmad to two years, starting today, less the period of suspension already served between 19 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, and has also reduced the fine, fixed now at CHF 50,000,” CAS said in a statement to APA on Tuesday.
The panel, composed of Frenchman Thomas Clay and Italian Massimo Coccia, first heard the defendant by video conference on March 2 and 3, 2021 before founding him “guilty of violating” FIFA’s Code of Ethics (FCE).
Two offenses were found, including “failure to record for various financial transactions, acceptance of cash payments, bank transfers of bonuses and indemnities without contractual or regulatory basis.”
This is a violation of sections 20 and 28 of FCE.
Then Ahmad was pinned for “distributing gifts and misappropriation of funds (use of CAF’s money to help finance an invitation to a pilgrimage to Mecca (Umra) in favor of some presidents of national federations, invitation not directly related to football.”
These facts constitute a violation of Articles 20, 25 and 28 of the Code of Ethics.
On the other hand, the Panel cleared Mr. Ahmad of any breach of the “Tactical Steel” contracts: the Panel considers that the documents in the file do not support the conclusion that Mr. Ahmad would have received any personal benefit, in particular in the context of the transaction with Tactical Steel for the equipment for the 2018 African Nations Championship.
The Arbitration Panel concluded that there is no abuse of power and violation of the duty of loyalty contained in Articles 15, 25 and 28.
In the decision rendered on 19 November 2020, the Judgment Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee found that the ousted CAF president had committed several breaches of FCE.
He was banned from participating in any football-related activity at the national and international level for a period of five years and was fined more than CFA118 million (200,000 Swiss francs).
In his appeal, Mr. Ahmad asked for the decision to be quashed.
Despite the reduction of his suspension, the former Malagasy Minister of Fisheries is permanently eliminated from the race for CAF presidency whose election is scheduled for March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.
As a result, the path has cleared for South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to succeed Ahmad.
The other three candidates namely Senegal’s Augustin Senghor, Mauritania’s Ahmed Yahya and Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire have dropped out of the race and are backing Mr. Motsepe.