Ahmad Ahmad: The rise, Fall and Return of CAF's "interim" President - MySoccer24
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Ahmad Ahmad: The rise, Fall and Return of CAF’s “interim” President

 CAF interim proprietor Ahmad Ahmad has been spotted in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, in anticipation of overseeing the Total African Nations Championship final.

The Malagasy has had a rollercoaster term in office as CAF boss, but he wouldn’t care much, as he is back to finish his mandate, with perhaps his only worry not being momentarily able to run for the elections again.

The rise of Ahmad

A former player, coach and Madagascar Football Association chief Ahmad Ahmad was elected as the Confederation of African Football president in Ethiopia, ending Issa Hayatou’s 29-year reign on March 16, 2017.

The 61-year-old became the seventh president of CAF, while his new job also included a place on FIFA’s governing council.

Results of the election read: Ahmad Ahmad: 34 votes, Issa Hayatou: 20 votes.

His manifesto reproduced the standard Fifa and continental confederation promises of good governance and transparency, promised to have significant development, money invested smartly and not in “white elephant” building projects, and for football to be “a lever for economical development and a tool to reach social stability” for young people in Africa.

 

The fall of Ahmad


All was moving smoothly until in June 2019, when FIFA seemingly ‘normalized’ CAF with FIFA’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura released without the consent  of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, to act as a High Commissioner amidst administrative crisis at the African football governing body.

African football was therefore under the radar especially earlier in June 2019 when CAF president Ahmad was questioned by French authorities at the beginning for: “part of a probe into corruption, breach of trust and forgery”.

The Madagascan official was handed a five-year ban from all football-related activity for financial misconduct in November last year. His misappropriation of funds included a pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

World football’s governing body FIFA issued the ban amid the Madagascan official’s campaign to be reelected for a second four-year term as the head of his continent’s confederation.

His ambition to regain power was in tatters after the FIFA ethics committee found “Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President.”

In addition to his ban, the 61-year-old was fined €185,000 ($220,000) for “the organization and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in CAF’s dealings with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities.”

The return of Ahmad

The Court Of Arbitration for Sports on January 31 said it granted Ahmad an interim ruling to freeze his five-year ban by FIFA ahead of an appeal hearing on March 2 and also promised a verdict the CAF elections on March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.

The court said there was a “risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad” if he remained banned from leading the Cairo-based African football body while awaiting an appeal during the election campaign.

Ruling in Ahmad’s favour, the judges “emphasized that such a temporary decision does not prejudge in any way the decision it will take after analysing the merits of the case.”

Still, it was unclear whether Ahmad – a former minister in Madagascar’s government — was to be recognised as a candidate, weeks ahead.

Ahmad was barred from the election in a mandatory review by a FIFA review panel of each would-be candidate’s integrity and eligibility.

In a ruling, CAS rejected the football official’s request for a separate interim ruling and, instead, upheld FIFA’s right to make decisions about the African elections that were “aimed at preventing Mr Ahmad from participating.”

It is on this note that Ahmad arrived Cameroon on February 5, to takeover his responsibilities in view of the African Nations Championship final on Sunday 7.

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