The outgoing president of the African Football Confederation has been sentenced to a five-year ban on all football-related activities by the adjudicatory chamber of the Fifa Independent Ethics Commission. Ahmad Ahmad is notably accused of embezzlement.
The threat of a Fifa suspension hovered over Ahmad Ahmad's head for several weeks. The decision came in the form of a statement published on the website of the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa). Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad, outgoing president of the African Football Confederation (CAF) and vice-president of Fifa, is suspended for a period of five years from any activity related to professional football.
The adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Commission "found Ahmad Ahmad guilty of violating Articles 15 (Duty of loyalty), 20 (Acceptance and distribution of gifts or other advantages) and 25 (Abuse of power) of the '2020 edition of the Fifa Code of Ethics, as well as Article 28 (Embezzlement) of its 2018 edition, ”details Fifa.
Ahmad Ahmad "failed in his duty of loyalty"
“The investigation into the behavior of Mr. Ahmad as president of CAF between 2017 and 2019 focused on various issues related to the governance of CAF, including the organization and funding of a pilgrimage to Mecca, his connections with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities ", specifies the press release of the judgment chamber of the Ethics Commission, which claims to have" established "that Ahmad Ahmad" had failed in his duty of loyalty, bestowed gifts and other benefits, inappropriately managed funds and abused his office as CAF President. "
He must also pay a fine of 200 Swiss francs (000 euros). Contacted by email, the FIFA press service did not respond to our requests.
He had been heard for several hours last week by the Ethics Commission via a videoconference. He was immediately notified of the decision to suspend him, with immediate effect. Within sixty days, he will receive all of the reasons for the sanction.
From this November 23, 2020, he is therefore no longer the president of CAF. According to its statutes, it is the first vice-president, the Congolese Constant Omari, who now heads the body. This will be the case until next March, the date of the election of CAF president, which will take place in Rabat.
Elected president of CAF in 2017, Ahmad Ahmad is candidate for a second term at the head of African football. Facing him, four candidates had so far declared themselves : Ivorian Jacques Anouma, South African Patrice Motsepe, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya and Senegalese Augustin Senghor. Their files will be examined by the competent CAF bodies, which will communicate the list of candidates authorized to stand.
Will Ahmad Ahmad appeal?
Ahmad Ahmad, who is recovering from his Covid-19 contamination from his stronghold of Mahajanga, Madagascar, "is doing well", assured one of his relatives to Young Africa. With his lawyers, he will decide in the coming days whether or not to appeal the decision of Fifa. He has only one recourse: before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). But a possible appeal is not suspensive.
Ahmad, who has decided to remain silent at first, may also communicate in the short term, after consulting his family guard.
The CAF, faced with this unprecedented situation, quickly split a statement explaining "take note of this decision which puts Ahmad Ahmad in a position of no longer being able to exercise his responsibilities", worrying in passing "of the consequences on his reputation of this long procedure. The body of African football has nevertheless decided to maintain the calendar of all its activities and programs.
Several hypotheses are now open. "Or Ahmad Ahmad appealed to the CAS, knowing that the procedure can be long, in order to be a candidate. Either he decides not to appeal and to return to Madagascar, explains the leader of an African federation, contacted by JA. It should be remembered that he had thought a lot, and even hesitated, before announcing his candidacy for a second term. He made up his mind because he is supported by many federations. It should not be excluded that he accepts the sanction and withdraws from the world of football. "
Another federation leader, supporter of Ahmad Ahmad, sums up a fairly widespread feeling among supporters of CAF president who has just been suspended: "Gianni Infantino (the president of FIFA, editor's note) did not want that ' Ahmad is a candidate for re-election, because relations between the two men are very tense. He no longer wants him at the head of African football. This sanction from the Ethics Commission does not happen by chance… ”
Tensions within the body had become recurrent in recent months. Licensed in April 2019, CAF Secretary General Amr Fahmy sent a letter to Fifa in which he accused Ahmad Ahmad of corruption and sexual harassment against several Confederation employees.
In June 2019, Ahmad Ahmad was briefly taken into custody and questioned by French justice, before being released without prosecution. At the same time, he asked for the help of Fifa to supervise a CAF weakened by several controversies and governance problems. Fifa number 2, Fatma Samoura, had carried out a mandate of six months as "General Delegate for Africa", but this one, which aimed to "bring its expertise to assess the situation and help accelerate the implementation of the current reform process", was not renewed when it came to an end, last February. .
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