CAF President's Ban Upheld by CAS

Despite a reduction in the ban, the decision means Ahmad Ahmad cannot run for re-election on March 12.

(ATR) Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad will not be allowed to run for re-election on March 12.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday upheld Ahmad’s ban from football, though it reduced it from five years to two. The original fine of CHF 200,000 ($213,714) was reduced to CHF 50,000 ($53,429).

The three-person CAS panel unanimously found Ahmad guilty of two articles of the FIFA Code of Ethics for "failure to record various financial transactions, acceptance of cash payments, bank transfers of bonuses and indemnities without a contractual or regulatory basis".

A majority of the panel also found him guilty of three other articles tied to the use of CAF money to help finance a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The panel, however, did clear Ahmad of any breach tied to Tactical Steel, the company that provided equipment for the 2018 African Nations Championship. It said "the documents in the file do not support the conclusion that Mr. Ahmad would have received any personal benefit" from the deal.

CAS had agreed to hold an expedited procedure ahead of the CAF elections in agreement with Ahmad and FIFA. In the meantime, Ahmad’s ban had been stayed and he was officially reinstated as CAF president.

Between now and the elections on Friday in Rabat, Morocco, Constant Omari will serve as interim CAF president. Omari failed a FIFAintegrity and eligibility check and is barred from running in the elections.

With Ahmad officially out of the picture, South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe is all but assured to be the next CAF president.

All three of Motsepe’s rivals for the job confirmed at a "ceremony of African unity" on Saturday that they were pulling out of the race and would support the South African.

Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania have reportedly accepted vice-president positions as part of the agreement. Jacques Anouma, the honorary president of the Ivorian Football Federation, will reportedly become an advisor to Motsepe.

The deal among the candidates had been brokered in Rabat last month with the help of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who met with the candidates as part of his African tour.

Infantino, after attending the event in Mauritania on Saturday, downplayed his involvement, saying "I am delighted that FIFA has been able to contribute, even if just a little, to this crucial moment for football on this great continent."

"This is also a sign of unity and commitment in bringing African football to the very top level where it should be. A united Africa behind a concrete vision and project is stronger. United we are stronger," Infantino added.

Written by Gerard Farek

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