The Confederation of African Football has disqualified embattled president Ahmad Ahmad from seeking reelection in March’s elections following his five-year ban from all football activities by FIFA.
Ahmad was declared ineligible to run again by CAF’s Governance Committee which carries out eligibility checks of candidates for the positions of President and Members of the Executive Committee in accordance with article 44 of CAF statutes.
The Governance Committee led by Ivorian Michel Kizito Brizoua-Bi, however, approved the candidature of Senegal’s Mr. Augustine Emmanuel Senghor and Mr. Jacques Bernard Daniel Anouma of Côte d’Ivoire.
Two other candidates for CAF president, South African Mr. Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe and Mr. Ahmed Yahaya of Mauritania were deemed to require further checks.
Both men were deemed “admissible” candidates, however, the committee determined that further checks are necessary before a final decision about their eligibility is reached.
“To this end, a hearing of these candidates will be organized in Cairo on 28 January 2021,” CAF said on its website.
Fifty-five-year-old Senghor, a lawyer by trade has been president of the Senegalese Football Federation since August 2009 and a member of the CAF executive committee since February 2018.
Mr. Anouma, 69, is a former member of the FIFA executive committee, former President of the Ivorian Football Federation and an Honorary President of the Ivorian Football Federation.
Mr Yahya, 44, is president of the Mauritanian Football Federation and a member of the Executive Committee, while Mr. Motsepe, 58 years old, is president of Mamelodi Sundowns FC but has never held any administrative football posts nationally or in CAF.
One of the eligible candidates will be elected for a four-year term to succeed Mr. Ahmad at the 43rd Elective Ordinary General Assembly, scheduled for 12 March 2021 in Rabat, Morocco.
Ahmad’s disqualification was expected following his football ban and CHF100,000 fine by FIFA for breaching various codes of ethics relating to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts abuse of position as well as misappropriation of funds.
The 60-year-old Malagasy national who took charge in 2017, had formally entered into the race before he was hit by the five-year ban last November.
FIFA’s ethics committee had found that Ahmad ran afoul of the body’s code of ethics over his involvement in the controversial deal involving Tactical Steel.
Tactical Steel is a little-known French gym manufacturer, run by an old friend of Ahmad’s then attaché Loic Gerand, which provided sportswear equipment to CAF in 2017 after an original deal with Puma was cancelled.
The deal with Puma, which was slightly smaller, was worth just under $250,000 while the alternative deal with Tactical Steel – for 22,000 items instead of 15,000 – came to just over $1m.
Mr Ahmad has also been arrested and investigated by French anti-corruption authorities who questioned the Malagasy in Paris in June 2019. He has not been charged with any offence.
Ahmad has always maintained his innocence and announced his intention to contest his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sports but that appeal has not come quick enough to ensure his candidacy in the elections.
Meanwhile, the Governance Committee approved thirteen of sixteen candidates who declared for position of Members of CAF Executive Committee and referred three others for further screening.
Approved candidates for election into the CAF Executive Committee include:
Wadie Jary (Tunisia)
Mustapha Ishola Raji (Liberia)
Djibrilla Hima Hamidou (Niger)
Edwin Simeon- Okraku (Ghana)
Adoum Djibrine (Chad)
Suleiman Waberi (Djibouti)
Isayas Jira (Ethiopia)
Feizal Ismael Sidat (Mozambique)
Elvis Raja Chetty (Seychelles)
Maclean Cortez Letshwithi (Botswana)
Kanizat Ibrahim (Comoros)
Patricia Rajeriarison (Madagascar)
Lawson Hogban-Latré-Kayti Edzona (Togo)
Mamadou Antonio Souaré (Guinea), Seidou Mbombo Njoya (Cameroun) and Arthur De Almeida E. Silva (Angola) will require “additional verification” for their candidacies the committee said.
According to the Governance Committee, all candidates for CAF president and Executive Committee membership were “scrupulously analyzed” “on the basis of the report drawn up by an international and independent company of investigation services, specialized in the controls of integrity – an international partner firm in particular of FIFA – as well as the information provided by the candidate concerned through an eligibility questionnaire”.
The Governance Committee, one of CAF’s four independent bodies, is made up of eminent jurists from the continent, selected for their expertise and moral probity.
It is chaired by Michel Brizoua-Bi (Côte d’Ivoire) with Vice-President Happi Dieudonné (Cameroon), and Maya Boureghda (Tunisia), Monica Musonda (Zambia), Tumi Dlamini (South Africa) as members.