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Fam mum on disqualified Caf boss

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Walter Nyamilandu

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is yet to make its stance known regarding the status of Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad Ahmad, whose candidature ahead of next month’s polls hangs in the balance.

Drama regarding Ahmad’s status ahead of the elections took a different twist on Saturday when Caf’s Executive Meeting disregarded an earlier decision by its Governance Committee to clear Ahmad out of corruption counts.

The decision has left Fam guessing on what to do next.

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Fam President Walter Nyamilandu, who was also part of Caf’s executive meeting in Yaoundé, Cameroon, said the association was yet to decide on which candidate to support during the forthcoming polls.

“My hands are now tied. I cannot say anything because I was part of the meeting [Caf Executive Committee] that made that decision; so, I cannot comment further,” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer David Kanyenda, who is also a member of the Fam Players Welfare Committee, said Caf should have remained silent on Ahmad’s eligibility .

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“These are interesting developments which demonstrate the need for adoption of a harmonised framework for dispute resolution. The tension between Caf and Fifa regarding eligibility of candidates does not bode well with good governance principles not to speak of the internal conflict between Caf exco and it governance body,” he said.

The former Mighty Be Forward Wanderers general secretary felt these developments can help shape future reforms in football circles.

Last week, Fam declined to come out clear on whether the association would support Cosafa candidate Patrice Motsepe, who is also the owner of Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, saying they would wait for outcome of Ahmad’s fate with Cas.

Meanwhile, BBC reported on Saturday that the Executive Committee of Caf had chosen to set aside the recommendation by its own Governance Committee to restore Ahmad as a presidential candidate, saying Fifa should have the final say.

On Friday, Caf’s Governance Committee determined that the 61-year-old was now eligible to stand in next month’s elections after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) temporarily lifted his five-year Fifa ban last week.

“The candidate Ahmad is declared eligible for the post of Caf presidency,” the Governance Committee stated on February 5.

At a heated meeting of the Executive Committee (ExCo) in Cameroon on Saturday, Caf’s board effectively decided to ignore the independent Governance Committee’s advice and rely on the football governing body itself.

“The Executive Committee finds the decision of the Governance Committee communicated on 5 February inappropriate,” Caf stated late on Saturday.

At one point, Caf president Ahmad—attending his first official event since being banned in November—left the room while his candidacy was discussed.

During the meeting, he also rejected the possibility of postponing the elections, to be held in Morocco, because of the ongoing uncertainty.

Whoever becomes Caf president on March 12 will automatically assumes the role of vice-president of Fifa, whose Review Committee vets candidates.

When the body met last month, it barred Ahmad from contesting the elections given the ban he had received for several breaches of Fifa’s ethics code.

Ahmad wants to be the elections’ fifth participant, with Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), Augustin Senghor (Senegal) and Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania) all having already been approved.— Additional reporting by BBC

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