On the 29th of this past month, January, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) suspended FIFA’s sanction against the sitting Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad.
Ahmad was on the 19th November 2020 given a 5-year ban from all football-related activities at national and international level by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.
The sanction had effectively ended the sitting CAF president from contesting or even retaining the seat he wrestled from Issa Hayatou in March 17 2017.
CAS ruling now however has given Ahmad some reprieve and sees the beleaguered CAF president take control of CAF ahead of its March 12 elections.
‘Due to a risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad if the disciplinary sanction is maintained during the period prior to the CAF elections, the CAS Panel has upheld the request to temporarily stay the effects of the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee until the day that the final CAS award is issued,’ CAS ruled.
CAS has however rejected the Ahmad’s request for provisional measures seeking that an order be imposed preventing FIFA from taking any decision aimed at preventing him from participating in, or aimed at making it difficult for him to participate in, the election for the CAF.’
Immediately following CAS’ suspension of the FIFA ruling pending a hearing appeal against Ahmad’s ban, CAF announced that he ‘has resumed his duties’ as its president.
‘Regarding his candidacy for the up-coming CAF elections for the position of President, President Ahmad Ahmad, respectful of the institution’s procedures, will meet CAF Governance Committee on Monday,’ CAF said in a media statement.
When Ahmad defeated Hayatou to take over the reins, the then newly elected BFA president Mclean Letshwiti as part of Phillip Chiyangwa led COSAFA region was among those who supported him.
Now, the BFA president has been one of the critics of Ahmad and was one of the first to declare his support for Patrice Motsepe’s campaign for CAF presidency.
In fact, Letshwiti is now running for a CAF executive committee position, with intent to help Motsepe to bring change and better governance in the continental football controlling body.
With Ahmad now in control, albeit while waiting for CAS to listen to his appeal on March 2, what does this mean for his opposers, the Letshwiti led BFA included?
Commenting on the matter, Yarona FM sports anchor and commentator Kagiso Phatsimo says Ahmad’s return will surely have an impact on the CAF elections.
“Even if he can end up not standing for elections, the effect of his return at this moment will be felt,” Phatsimo observes.
“In African sports, as it is in politics, we hear of people ruling from the grave. Ahmad right now is aware he is likely to be ruled out of contesting for CAF presidency and will use the little time he has left to prepare for the eventuality of his ouster.”
Phatsimo says as such, it is likely that Ahmad may use the resources at CAF to vigorously campaign for his allies or those sympathetic to him.
“Should such be the case and those sympathetic to him win, he will still wield some influence and this will be bad news for those against him,” he says.
Meanwhile, Phatsimo says Ahmad’s ban by FIFA points to deep seated corruption within African football, even post Hayatou reign.
“Ahmad’s campaign was centred around cleaning the African game. Now, we see him being banned for corrupt practices even before he could finish his first term in office. This goes to show how dirty African football is,” he observes.