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‘Caf presidents ban bad for Africa’

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ANNED—Ahmad

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) President Walter Nyamilandu has said the banning of Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad Ahmad is a sad development for continental football.

“It doesn’t augur well for the image of African football. Ahmad had overwhelming support from member associations in Africa who felt that continuity was key to the growth and development of African football. The outcome is detrimental to the image of Caf and retrogressive to the development of African football,” Nyamilandu said.

The Fifa Council member said they would scrutinise the remaining candidates to see who was fit to take African football forward.

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Local analyst George Kaudza-Masina said the writing was on the wall as it was just a matter of time before Fifa pounced on Ahmad.

“This vindicates people’s fear that the football industry is corrupt to the core and it’s time this vice was nipped in the bud. Let this cracking of a whip on Ahmad be a learning point to Caf secretariat and all FAs in Africa that their days are numbered. As for our own FA, it’s time they sanitised themselves and their affiliates if the beautiful game of football is to remain relevant,” said the former Fam acting general secretary.

Fifa has banned Ahmad for five years for breaching various codes of ethics.

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Ahmad, the Fifa vice-president, 60, has been found to have breached codes relating to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts, abuse of position as well as misappropriation of funds.

“The investigation into Mr Ahmad’s conduct … from 2017 to 2019 concerned various Caf-related governance issues, including the organisation and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in Caf’s dealing with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities,” a Fifa statement reads.

Mr Ahmad, whose impending ban was announced by BBC Sport Africa last month, has also been fined $200,000. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.

The Malagasy can appeal his sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) once he has received the full grounds for the decision, a process that can take up to 60 days.

Last month, the former head of Madagascar’s FA announced his intention to go for a second term in office when Caf elections take place next March.

This is now in major doubt as Ahmad, who was elected Caf president in 2017, would have to pass an eligibility test to resume his place on the Fifa Council.

Any chances of re-election will be dependent on not only winning his appeal at Cas but also ensuring the said appeal is heard early enough to allow him to be confirmed as a candidate.

Mr Ahmad recently stepped back from leading Caf, stating that he had done so for medical reasons as he continues to recover from coronavirus— leaving Caf’s first vice-president Constant Omari in charge of leading the organisation.— Additional reporting by BBC

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