Sports

Ahmad ban leaves Caf reeling

Ahmad Ahmad

A DAY after FIFA banned CAF boss, Ahmad Ahmad, for five years, focus has turned on what will happen to those who accompanied him on that controversial Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, which cost the continent’s governing football body more than US$100 000.

Interestingly, the list of those who were on that trip includes Ahmed Yahya, the president of the Mauritania Football Association, who has put his name forward as a candidate for the CAF presidency in March next year.

Moses Magogo, the president of the Federation of Uganda Football Federations, who served a two-month ban from FIFA in October last year, on charges related to the resale of 2014 World Cup tickets, was also part of that trip.

The other African football leaders who accompanies Ahmad are Sita Sangare of Burkina Faso, Souleyman Waberi of Djibouti, Jamal El-Jaafri of Libya and Hani Abou Rida of Egypt, who was the Egyptian Football Association leader, until he was forced to resign last July following the Pharaohs poor show at the 2019 AFCON finals.

The former Ghana FA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, a former first vice-president of CAF serving a life ban from FIFA after being caught up in a sting operation in a Middle East hotel room, also made the trip to Mecca.

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Other Muslim leaders of CAF, who were on the organisation’s leadership, refused to travel.

CAF yesterday confirmed that Congolese football leader, Constant Omari, who was the CAF vice-president, will be in charge of the organisation.

However, Omari also faces possible FIFA sanctions.

“The adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA independent Ethics Committee has just declared Mr. Ahmad Ahmad, president of the Confederation Africaine de Football, and vice-president of FIFA, responsible for having acted in violation of the FIFA Code of ethics,’’ CAF communication director, Alexandre Siewe, said in a statement.

“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber banned him from all football-related activities (administrative, sports and other) at the national and international levels for a period of five years. “CAF and CAF president take note of this decision which puts Mr. Ahmad Ahmad in a position of no longer being able to exercise his responsibilities.

“In accordance with its statutes, CAF announces that the current interim of Mr Constant Selemani Omari as President of CAF is extended.

“The Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF), which is concerned about the reputational consequences of this long procedure, maintains the schedule of all its activities and programmes.’’ Omari faces his own ethics investigation over a television deal that he and Ahmad revised in a way that appeared to have benefited CAF’s broadcast partners at a cost of millions of dollars to African soccer.

Ahmad is also implicated in that investigation and could face further penalties as a result. In addition to his five-year ban, FIFA also fined Ahmed about US$220 000.

A 55-page report compiled by consultants from PwC, said “potential elements of mismanagement and possible abuse of power were found in key areas of finance and operations.”

It provided yet another reminder of the challenges of reforming the governance of world football, which was rocked in 2015 when the United States filed a sweeping indictment that laid out in vivid detail accusations of decades of corruption and wrongdoing by some of the sport’s most senior administrators.

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Omari was arrested on suspicion of corruption and held for 24 hours, two years ago, in a public prosecutor’s office in his home country of Congo while being questioned for alleged involvement in embezzlement.

According to Moroccan and Malagasy reports yesterday, Ahmad met with his lawyers as they are preparing to submit his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland. — Sports Reporter/New York Times/insideworldfootball

HERALD