December 6, 2021

Caf president Ahmad challenges ‘shocking’ five-year football ban

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The Madagascan will take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after he was slammed for alleged unethical procedures

President of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has appealed his five-year ban from football-related activities at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Fifa’s adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee found him guilty of abuse of office, misappropriation of funds and, offering gifts and other benefits as Caf president and Fifa vice-president.

In addition to the sanction, the Madagascan – who disclosed his intention to run for a second term in office – was also hit with a fine of 200,000 Swiss Francs.

According to a statement released by the Caf president’s team, the sentence was passed to prevent Ahmad from being re-elected to the presidency of Caf.

“On Tuesday 24 November 2020, Mr Ahmad Ahmad, President of Caf and vice-president of Fifa, announced that his counsels are filing an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in order to firmly contest the sentence pronounced by the adjudication chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee,” the statement read.

“A sanction of a five-year ban from exercising any activity related to football – at national and international level – as well as a fine of CHF 200,000 was pronounced by the Adjudicatory Chambers of the Ethics Committee on Monday 23 November 2020, against the President of Caf and Fifa Vice President, Mr Ahmad Ahmad.

“This decision was not rendered in a fair and impartial manner. During the months of the investigation conducted by the Investigatory Chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee, headed by Mrs Maria Claudia Rojas, against the Confederation of African Football and its president, many surprising procedures have been noted.

“Thus, Fifa gave a mandate to the audit firm PwC to investigate the administration of African football, even though this firm had been working for Caf and under a mandate from the latter, thus creating a conflict of interest and a problem of obvious lack of impartiality.”

“In addition, rumours about the possible involvement of Fifa in the work of the Ethics Committee have constantly resounded in the European and African press. Leaks of information relating to the ongoing procedure – which is supposed to be strictly confidential – and systematically unfavourable of President Ahmad, have been made public through the press, preventing, in fact, a serene investigation from taking place,” it continued.

“Even the hearing of president Ahmad, who was notably refused the right to examine some of his witnesses during a hearing conducted at the prosecution’s double pace, was not held according to the expected and usual standards.

“As a result of these irregularities, the facts presented in a high questionable manner by the investigatory Chambers to the Adjudicatory Chambers of the Fifa Ethics Committee. Moreover, the latter hastened to issue an urgent and immediately enforceable decision, without providing the grounds of the sentence, despite its seriousness. The reason for such haste could be that this sentence would prevent president Ahmad from being re-elected to the presidency of Caf in the elections scheduled for March 2021, despite the many supporters already declared in his favour.

“An appeal will therefore be made before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge this incomprehensible and shocking decision. Furthermore, he will request for the stay of the decision, so as not to aggravate the prejudice he is suffering and allow him to campaign for his re-election to the precedency of Caf.”