GENEVA (AP) — The president of African soccer who was banned for five years for financial mismanagement by FIFA’s ethics committee said on Wednesday he will appeal the ruling to sport’s highest court.
Lawyers for Ahmad Ahmad, the former government minister from Madagascar, announced on his Twitter account he will challenge the ban when he receives the written grounds of an “incomprehensible and shocking decision” made by the committee. FIFA said Monday that the document would be provided within 60 days.
“This decision was not rendered in a fair and impartial manner,” Ahmad’s legal team wrote.
Ahmad pledged to also ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport to freeze the ban during his appeal process so he can continue campaigning for re-election.
The Confederation of African Football’s 54 member countries are scheduled to vote on March 12.
Before then, Ahmad and other potential candidates must pass an integrity and eligibility check overseen by FIFA-appointed officials.
The FIFA ethics committee found Ahmad had “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President,” since being elected in 2017.
The charges related to CAF organizing and financing an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca with 16 federation presidents and an equipment supply contract with a French company that had little track record in soccer.
FIFA investigators relied on a forensic audit of CAF finances by an international accountancy firm that also worked for the Cairo-based soccer body.
This was a conflict of interest, Ahmad’s lawyers claimed Wednesday, adding he was “refused the right to examine some witnesses” at his FIFA ethics committee hearing.
Potential candidates for the CAF presidency include two current executive committee members — Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yaya of Mauritania — former FIFA executive committee member Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast and Patrice Motsepe, a billionaire businessman and soccer club owner from South Africa.
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