By Dan Byrne for AMLi
THE MOST SENIOR figure in African soccer has been handed a five-year ban from the sport by FIFA merely weeks after he announced his bid for re-election.
Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar was issued with the ban by the sports international governing body FIFA, after being found guilty of four separate offences that violated the body’s code of ethics.
“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,” a statement from FIFA read Monday.
He has also been fined a sum of $220,000.
Ahmad had served as president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) – the African continental affiliate of FIFA – since March 2017.
Today’s news comes just weeks after he confirmed to BBC Sport Africa that he would seek another term in 2021. At the time, all but eight national soccer federations within the CAF supported his bid, despite it being known that investigations against him were ongoing.
Now, the ban means Ahmad will be unable to continue his re-election campaign, or participate in any official AFC/FIFA business, including attending matches.
Over the course of a two-and-a-half-year presidency, Ahmad was found to have organised a pilgrimage with other top sports officials to Mecca – the financing of which was called into question.
His business relationship with sports equipment company Tactical Steel was also singled out as a factor in his dismissal.
Separately, Ahmad also faced accusations of sexual harassment from female colleagues.
He is currently subject to another investigation regarding a television rights deal that resulted in a net loss for African soccer, while producing increased profits for CAF broadcast partners.
Ahmad’s dismissal and five-year ban closely resembles the fates of several other top soccer officials that FIFA has tried to distance itself from over the past decade.
Amid widespread accusations of corruption, both former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former UEFA President Michel Platini were handed similar dismissals and bans, in a case that revealed an extensive network of bribery and other financial crime.
Since taking office, current FIFA President Gianni Infantino has vowed to rid the organisation of its corrupt reputation. Infantino was, however, one of the senior FIFA figures to give strong backing to Ahmad during his original campaign for CAF presidency.
Share this on:
Follow us on: