KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Ahmad Ahmad, president of the African Football Confederation, has been banned from all football involvement for the next five years by the ethics committee of world governing body FIFA.
Unless Ahmad presses forward swiftly for a suspension of the ban pending appeal, this means he will not be able to stand for re-election as he had intended at CAF Congress in Rabat, Morocco, in March.
The punishment is comparatively light, considering the issues which had raised against the 60-year-old from Madagascar whose CAF status also involved being a vice-president of FIFA.
A further governance complication for CAF is that Ahmad’s senior vice-president, Constant Omari from Congo, is also understood to be under investigation over a media rights contract.
Ahmad, who has been out of action after testing positive for Covid-19, ousted Cameroon’s long-serving Issa Hayatou as CAF president.
He stood for the presidency initially on a platform promising administrative reform, financial transparency and a potential competitions reorganisation.
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.
He had also used CAF funds to pay for a pilgrimage to Mecca for several members of the executive committee.
On top of all this Ahmad was accused 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 he had set up 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 sent its Senegalese secretary-general Fatma Samoura to effectively take over the running of Ahmad’s disfunctonal CAF for six months.
Four contenders had already registered their intention to stand for election to the CAF presidency: Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), Augustin Senghor (Senegal) and Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania).
FIFA ethics statement:
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has 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 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.
Consequently, 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 CHF 200,000 has been imposed on Mr Ahmad.
The terms of the decision were notified to Mr Ahmad today, the date on which the ban comes into force. In accordance with art. 78 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the full, motivated decision will be notified to Mr Ahmad in the next 60 days, after which it will be published on legal.fifa.com.