By Mark Gleeson
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Confederation of African Soccer president Ahmad Ahmad’s five-year ban from soccer has been lowered to 2 years, the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport mentioned on Monday, ending his hopes of re-election this week.
The ruling clears the way in which for South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to interchange him and grow to be the organisation’s eighth president in its 63-year historical past.
Ahmad was banned from soccer for 5 years by FIFA in November and fined 200,000 Swiss francs after an ethics investigation by world soccer’s governing physique, which discovered the 61-year-old responsible of providing and accepting items and different advantages in addition to of misappropriation of funds.
On attraction, CAS on Monday lowered the ban to 2 years – which means Ahmad can not stand for re-election this week – and minimize his positive to 50,000 Swiss francs.
Ahmad, who was additionally a FIFA vice chairman, had hoped his attraction would achieve success and permit him to hunt re-election in Morocco on Friday.
As a substitute, he’s successfully sidelined from soccer politics till November 2022.
Motsepe is ready to interchange him from Friday after an settlement brokered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino final week that may see the 59-year-old mining magnate, proprietor of the South African membership Mamelodi Sundowns, elected unanimously and two of his rivals – Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania – named as CAF vice presidents.
Ahmad, a former fisheries minister in his native Madagascar, was elected in 2017 in a shock overcome long-standing incumbent Issa Hayatou.
FIFA banned him in November from all football-related exercise, nonetheless, on a number of expenses of corruption, amongst them diverting near $1 million to a French middleman firm referred to as Tactical Metal for the acquisition of sports activities gear that CAF beforehand purchased instantly from the producers.
However CAS mentioned the paperwork within the FIFA file didn’t help the conclusion that Ahmad obtained any private profit.
He was nonetheless discovered responsible of failure to report varied monetary transactions, acceptance of money funds, and of constructing financial institution transfers of bonuses and indemnities with out a contractual or regulatory foundation.
He was additionally judged to be responsible of utilizing CAF funds to take Muslim presidents of African soccer associations to Mecca on a pilgrimage he initially mentioned he would pay for.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Modifying by Hugh Lawson)