African soccer leader’s ban cut, but ruled out of election

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The president of the African soccer confederation had his FIFA ban cut to two years on appeal Monday but he will still be unable to seek re-election this week.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport partially upheld the appeal by Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar against a five-year ban for financial misconduct while he was running the Confederation of African Football.

The court published an urgent ruling without detailed reasons following a two-day hearing held last week by video link.

Ahmad needed to overturn the ban as a key step toward getting on the CAF ballot for Friday’s election in Rabat, Morocco.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is set to win unopposed and succeed Ahmad, who was elected as CAF president four years ago with support from FIFA.

Motsepe’s three expected challengers withdrew in recent days as part of a deal brokered by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

FIFA and Infantino are looking for stability and support from CAF, which was in turmoil for much of Ahmad’s first term in office.

Ahmad was banned in November when FIFA ethics judges found he “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds, and abused his position as the CAF president.”

The basis for the FIFA investigation was a forensic audit it requested of CAF’s accounts. In 2019, FIFA sent in secretary general Fatma Samoura to lead an emergency management team for the Cairo-based organization.

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