FIFA bans CAF President Ahmad Ahmad

The Confederation of African Football (CAF)’s president, Ahmad Ahmad has been handed a five-year ban by football’s governing body, FIFA, for financial misconduct, the AP reported on Monday morning.

The football administrator, who saw to the end of the career of CAF strongman, Issa Hayatou just three years ago, had been embroiled in financial malfeasances that seem to have finally put an end to his reign as the top man of African football.

There have been many signs and signals that have all shown Ahmad in a bad light.

In an interview, the president of the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF], Amaju Pinnick, a major backer in Ahmad’s emergence, but who was removed from his post as 1st Vice President in 2019, said that Ahmad was an individual not given to listening and taking good advice.

Last week, the New York Times reported that Ahmad and the stand-in president, Constant Omari, were asked by FIFA to provide details about a television contract concerning a marketing company called Lagardere Sports. The report highlighted changes to deals, especially the fact that CAF were in effect purchasing the losses from Lagardere Sports.

CAF had ceded control of running its secretariat in August 2019, and named Fatma Samoura as Fifa general delegate for Africa, but that intervention was deemed a successful venture in February when Samoura’s expedition ended.

A FIFA statement said, “Fifa is happy that the joint effort made with CAF was done and delivered within the initial proposed time frame and reiterates its commitment to be at the disposal of African football to assist in the process of raising its level to the top of the world.”

Further to this intervention was a PwC forensic audit report, which showed extensive mismanagement of CAF’s finances by Mr Ahmad and some members of the executive committee.

AP had in February reported the findings of the forensic audit. “PwC found $4.6 million from 14 payments had ‘no or insufficient supporting documentation to determine the beneficiary, purpose, and benefit for CAF.’”

The auditors said they could not find the purpose of the payment, the ultimate beneficiary, or evidence the cash had been received in some cases.

“Another $3.6 million accounting for 21 payments was “considered unusual or deemed higher risk,” the report said. Only five payments of those scrutinised — amounting to $1.6 million — had “sufficient documentation” and were said to have been used for the purpose intended.

Ahmad, arrested in France in June but released without being charged, is now ineligible to stand for re-election next March, which means there will be a new CAF president come 2021.

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