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Banned CAF president Ahmad vows to clear his name

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 21, 2020 Ahmad Ahmad, President of the Confederation of African Football, speaks during the CAF draw, for the second round of Confederation of African Football (CAF) matches for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, in the Egyptian capital Cairo. – The Fifa Ethics Commission suspended the President of the African Confederation Ahmad Ahmad for five years, fining him in addition 200,000 Swiss francs (185,000 euros), mainly on charges of embezzlement. The 60-year-old Madagascan leader, at the head of African football since March 2017 and candidate for a second term, was also placed in police custody on suspicion of corruption in June 2019 in Paris. (Photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP)

Embattled Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Ahmad Ahmad, who was banned for five years from all football activity by world soccer ruling body, FIFA, has vowed to clear his name of the charges against him.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee on Monday banned Ahmad for five years over allegations of financial mismanagement and abuse of office.

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In announcing the ban, the committee said Ahmad “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President.

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 a little track record in soccer.

The investigators relied on a forensic audit of CAF finances by an international accountancy firm that also worked for the Cairo-based soccer body.

Ahmad’s lawyers yesterday claimed he was refused the right to examine some witnesses at his FIFA ethics committee hearing.

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The lawyers announced on Ahmad’s 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.

He 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.

CAF’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.

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 Cote d’Ivoire and Patrice Motsepe, a billionaire businessman and soccer club owner from South Africa.

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