FIFA Suspends CAF President Ahmad for Five Years for Financial Impropriety, Ethical Misconduct

A statement issued Monday November 23, on the website of the World Football Governing Body, FIFA states that Mr. Ahmad Ahmad has been suspended from any football-related activities for a period of five years effective immediately. As per the suspension, Mr. Ahmad Ahmad loses his position as President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

The FIFA Ethics Committee contends that the erstwhile CAF President, Mr. Ahmad Ahmad had acted contrary to the rules and regulations in place at the organization. The statement notes that “Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as CAF President”.

 

Constant Selemani Omari, new CAF Interim President until the March 202 election (C) AfricanFootball.com

According to FIFA, Mr. Ahmad Ahmad breached three key articles of its Code of Ethics, making him liable to sanctions. In this regard, part of the FIFA statement reads: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Ahmad Ahmad, the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a FIFA Vice-President, guilty of having breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the 2020 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 (Misappropriation of funds) of the 2018 edition”.

It emerges from the press release issued Monday that Mr. Ahmad Ahmad had been under investigation since 2017 and that the violations that resulted to his suspension were committed in the period leading up to 2019.

“The investigation into Mr. Ahmad’s conduct in his position as CAF President during the period from 2017 to 2019 concerned various CAF-related governance issues, including 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 statement indicates.

The decision by FIFA recalls memories of troubles Mr. Ahmad Ahmad had with French authorities in Paris on the sidelines of the Women’s World Cup tournament. He was briefly detained by French Security in Paris on the eve of the Women’s Football Jamboree for questioning about a CAF equipment deal with a company that seemingly had little or nothing to do with football.

FIFA points out that “In its decision, following an extensive hearing, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that, 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, pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics”.

 

Interim CAF President, Constant Omari in the company of ousted President, Ahmad Ahmad (C) Sada El balad

The Adjudicatory Chamber that handled the investigation spelt out sanctions commensurate to the offences it ascertained were committed. In this vein, the FIFA release reads: “Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr. Ahmad had breached arts 15, 20 and 25 of the current edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 of the 2018 edition, and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 200,000 (Swiss Franc) has been imposed on Mr. Ahmad.”

Mr. Ahmad Ahmad hails from Madagascar and has been President of CAF only since March 2017. He took over from Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou who ran the organ for close to three decades. He was due to stand for reelection against Ivorian, Jacques Anoma, Senegalese Augustine Senghor, Mauritanian Ahmad Ould Yahya, and South African, Patrice Mutsipi in March 2021 when the suspension was made public.

In the meantime, Congolese Football Administrator and Member of the FIFA Council, Mr. Constant Omari has been appointed as Interim President of CAF. He is expected to manage the affairs of the organ until a new president is elected in 2021.