KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Three days after pursuing FIFA at sport’s supreme court the controversial African football boss Musa Bility has been banned from football for 10 years and fined $500,000 by the world governing body.
On Monday Bility, 52-year-old president of the Liberian FA and a member of the executive committee of the African confederation, announced his intention to try to halt what he had described as a “hostile takeover” of CAF by FIFA. He registered his complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne a matter of hours before the long arm of FIFA law caught up with him.
The ethics committee, after following up on an LFA audit in May last year, found Bility “guilty of having misappropriated FIFA funds, as well as having received benefits and found himself in situations of conflict of interest.”
The misuse of funds related to grants under FIFA’s “11 against Ebola” campaign and as part of its financial assistance programme.
Liberia was one of three west African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola between 2013 and 2016, when more than 10,000 people lost their lives.
In a statement, FIFA explained that there were also “various payments made by the LFA to (and received from) entities owned by or connected to Mr Bility and his family”.
Bility, who has denied wrongdoing, said he will appeal and would be continuing his CAS case against FIFA and CAF.
The last two years have seen a string of African football leaders, including other senior CAF directors, banned on corruption charges. CAF’s Madagascar president Ahmad Ahmad has also been reported to the FIFA’s ethics committee for misuse of funds and sexual harassment by his own general secretary (since sacked).
Subsequently FIFA president Gianni Infantino, reacting to a request for help from the CAF exco – despite criticism from several of its members including Bility – delegated his secretary-general Fatma Samoura, the Senegalese former United Nations official, on a six-month assignment to do just that.
The Liberian FA supremo has been a controversial figure within the African game in his own right.
In November 2015 his attempt to stand in the election for FIFA president to replace disgraced and banned Sepp Blatter was rejected by the world federation after a integrity check.
This followed CAF’s 2013 imposition of a six-month ban from football of Bility for using confidential documents from African football’s governing body in an earlier legal challenge against Issa Hayatou, the then president of CAF.