By Femi Solaja with agency report
Billionaire South African, Patrice Motsepe, will become the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) later this week after Ahmad’s five-year ban was reduced to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday.
The path for Motsepe to become the first South African to run CAF has been entirely cleared after three of his rivals – Jacques Anouma, Augustin Senghor and Ahmed Yahya – withdrew their candidacies over the weekend.
The final obstacle to the 59-year-old’s coronation on Friday was a potential comeback for recent CAF President Ahmad, who had needed to entirely overturn his ban to be able to contest the elections.
The 61-year-old from Madagascar failed to do this, even if he did succeed in more than halving his sanction and seeing his fine reduced from just over $200,000 to a little over $50,000.
While he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the arrangements concerning CAF’sbusiness dealingswith French company Tactical Steel, Ahmad was still found to have breached three other FIFA ethics rules.
“The CAS Panel has partially upheld the appeal and has reduced the length of the suspension imposed on Mr Ahmad to two years, starting today, less the period of suspension already served between 19 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, and has also reduced the fine,” CAS saidin a statement.
When banned by FIFA in November, the global body had cited Ahmad’s ‘Duty of Loyalty’ breach – which was in connection to his role in the deal between CAF and Tactical Steel,which mainly manufactures gym equipment, for the latter to provide sportswear.
This was struck off by CAS who ‘cleared Mr Ahmad of any breach of the ‘Tactical Steel’ contracts’ owing to lack of evidence to ‘support the conclusion’ that the Malagasy, who took charge of Caf in 2017, had personally profited from the deal.
Nonetheless, he was still adjudged to have broken ethics codes relating to the ‘offering and accepting gifts or other benefits’, ‘abuse of power’ and ‘misappropriation of funds’.
There was unanimity among the three-person CAS panel regarding a lack of proper accounting, regarding payments made to Ahmad, for ‘various financial transactions, acceptance of payment in cash, bank transfer and bonuses without a contractual or regulatory basis’.
However, the panel only reached a majority when ruling that Ahmad’s organisation of a religious Umrah pilgrimage for Africa’s Muslim-only presidents to Saudi Arabia breached rules relating to the offering of gifts in addition to the misappropriation of funds.