South African businessman Patrice Motsepe is set to become the next President of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) after incumbent president Ahmad Ahmad is barred from contesting in the forthcoming elections due to a reduced ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) on Monday.
Ahmad was initially handed a five-year ban by Fifa's Independent Ethics Committee last year, but after investigations and hearings from both parties, Cas found the Madagascan guilty of not recording various financial transactions, accepting cash payments, distributing gifts and misappropriation of Caf's funds to help finance certain federation presidents for their pilgrimages to Mecca.
His ban has been reduced to two years and he is also expected to pay a reduced fine of 50,000 Swiss Francs from the initial CHF 200,000.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has issued its decision in the appeal filed by Mr Ahmad Ahmad against the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee issued on 19 November 2020 (grounds served on 21 January 2021) (the Challenged Decision). The Cas Panel has partially upheld the appeal and has reduced the length of the suspension imposed on Mr Ahmad to two years, starting today, less the period of suspension already served between 19 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, and has also reduced the fine, fixed now at CHF 50,000,” the statement read.
Monday’s judgement came as a blow to Ahmad’s ambition of extending his tenure at the helm of the African football governing body because he won’t be eligible to participate in the elections scheduled to take place in Rabat, Morocco on March 12.
Over the weekend, Fifa President Gianni Infantino threw his weight behind Motsepe’s presidential bid in a special event held in Mauritania with over 20 presidents of African member associations present.
It was described as a ceremony for African unity and three of the four presidential candidates confirmed their decision to step aside for the South African businessman who is ranked as the ninth richest man in Africa by Forbes.
Senegalese FA President Augustin Senghor, Mauritanian FA President Ahmed Yahya and former Ivorian FA President Jacques Anouma are reportedly set to have roles at Caf too.