Ahmad in dramatic return as head of CAFThomas Kwenaite
Ahmad Ahmad reclaimed his position as President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in dramatic fashion on Friday evening when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland upheld his appeal which he filed urgently when FIFA banned him from all football activities for five years late last year.
Ahmad was found guilty of violating several articles of FIFA’s Ethics Committee codes which included allegations of abuse of his office, misappropriation of funds described as offering and accepting gifts and slapped with a five year ban from participation in all football activities.
The ban meant that he had to be removed from the list of candidates vying for his position as President of CAF, which left Senegal’s Augustin Senghor, Cote d’Ivoire’s Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian’s Ahmed Yahya and South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe to fight for the position.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport has registered an appeal filed by Mr Ahmad Ahmad against the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee on November 19,” read a press statement released by CAS.
“Such decision established that Mr Ahmad had committed several infractions of the FIFA Code of Ethics and imposed on him a ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for five years, as well as a fine of CHF 200’000,” continued the statement.
“With his statement of appeal requesting the annulment of the FIFA decision, Mr Ahmad filed a request for provisional measures in order to be able to participate in the elections of the African Football Confederation (CAF) on 12 March 2021. In agreement with Mr Ahmad and FIFA, the CAS initiated an expedited procedure and has fixed the hearing date for 2 March 2021.”
In essence, the decision means that Ahmad retains his position as President of CAF, relieving his deputy DR Congo’s Constant Omari who had been acting in the position, at least until March 2 when the CAS will make a final ruling on the charges brought to him by FIFA.
“Due to a risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad if the disciplinary sanction is maintained during the period prior to the CAF elections, the CAS Panel has upheld the request to temporarily stay the effects of the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee until the day that the final CAS award is issued.”
And the four candidates were this week all declared eligible to contest the upcoming CAF elections by both CAF and FIFA. But CAS swung the pendulum in dramatic fashion on Friday when it returned Am
But CAS strongly emphasized that such a temporary decision does not prejudge in any way the decision it will take after analysing the merits of the case, once the written proceedings and the hearing have been completed.
But there is a sting in the tail about this decision. While lifting the ban at least until March 2 when they delivered their judgement, CAS has also rejected Ahmad’s request ordering FIFA from preventing him from taking any decision aimed at preventing him from participating in, or aimed at making it difficult for him to participate in, the election for the CAF presidency scheduled for 12 March 2021 in Morocco.
This means should CAS rule against him on March 2, this ruling could end up as temporary reprieve and he could still be missing on the ballot list 10 days later in Rabat. We shall wait and would be watching the unfolding drama with keen interest.