Patrice Motsepe looks set to succeed Ahmad Ahmad as the new Confederation of African Football president this coming Friday.
This comes after the incumbent, Ahmad failed in his bid to overturn a decision by the FIFA Ethics Committee banning him from football for five years.
The CAF president’s expedited appeal, which was heard by a three-man panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was conducted through a videoconference on the 2 and 3rd March.
In its ruling delivered on Monday, the three-man panel, found Ahmad guilty of violating articles 20 and 28 of the FIFA Code of Ethics for ‘failure to record various financial transactions, acceptance of cash payments, bank transfers of bonuses and indemnities without a contractual or regulatory basis.’
Ahmad was also found guilty of violating articles 20, 25 and 28 of the FIFA Code of Ethics for ‘distribution of gifts and misappropriation of funds.’
He was accused of using CAF’s money ‘to help finance an invitation to a pilgrimage to Mecca (Umrah) in favour of certain presidents of national federations, an invitation which was not directly related to football.’
The CAS however cleared Ahmad ‘of any breach of the “Tactical Steel” contracts’ as it believed ‘the documents in the file do not support the conclusion that Mr. Ahmad would have received any personal benefit, in particular in the context of the transaction with Tactical Steel for the equipment for the 2018 African Nations Championship.’
In its ruling, the CAS partially upheld Ahmad’s appeal and only reduced his ban from footballing activities from the initial five years to now just two years.
With Ahmad now out of the way, the road is now clear for the man touted as a favourite of FIFA president Gianni Infantino to take over.
Ahmad was the last hurdle in Motsepe’s bid to run unopposed for the CAF presidency after an interesting week that witnessed his three would-be opponents withdraw from the race.
The three are President of the Senegalese Football Association Augustin Senghor, Mauritanian FA President Ahmed Yahya and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast.
In a move allegedly orchestrated by the incumbent FIFA president, the three CAF presidential aspirants were promised positions in the new CAF executive committee in exchange of withdrawing from the race.
According to sources, Senghor and Yahya will be appointed vice presidents while Anouma, a former Ivory Coast FA president will be a special advisor to Motsepe.
This year’s CAF elections are slated to take place in Rabat, Morocco this coming Friday, March 12.