The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reinstated Ahmad Ahmad as president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Ahmad was banned for five years by the world football governing body (FIFA) in November last year over allegations of financial misappropriation.
The 61-year-old Malagasy, however, appealed FIFA’s decision at CAS, which issued a preliminary ruling on Friday.
Despite his reinstatement, Ahmad is still ineligible to contest the continental presidential election which holds on March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.
In a statement, CAS, sport’s highest legal body, said it will hear Ahmad’s appeal on March 2 with a decision expected to be issued before the CAF presidential election 10 days later.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an 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). Such decision established that Mr Ahmad had committed several infractions of the FIFA Code of Ethics and imposed on him a ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for five years, as well as a fine of CHF 200’000,” the statement read.
“With his statement of appeal requesting the annulment of the FIFA decision, Mr Ahmad filed a request for provisional measures in order to be able to participate in the elections of the African Football Confederation (CAF) on 12 March 2021.
“In agreement with Mr Ahmad and FIFA, the CAS initiated an expedited procedure and has fixed the hearing date for 2 March 2021 (with a reserve day on 3 March 2021). The CAS Panel in charge of the matter intends to render a final award shortly after the hearing, i.e. before 12 March 2021.
“Due to a risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad if the disciplinary sanction is maintained during the period prior to the CAF elections, the CAS Panel has upheld the request to temporarily stay the effects of the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee until the day that the final CAS award is issued.
“However, the Panel has emphasized that such temporary decision does not prejudge in any way the decision it will take after analysing the merits of the case, once the written proceedings and the hearing have been completed.
“On the other hand, the arbitral Panel has rejected the request for provisional measures filed by Mr Ahmad seeking that an order be imposed preventing FIFA from taking any decision aimed at preventing Mr Ahmad from participating in, or aimed at making it difficult for him to participate in, the election for the CAF presidency scheduled for 12 March 2021.”
Meanwhile, Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, Patrice Motsepe of South Africa, Augustin Senghor of Senegal and Ahmed Yahya of Mauritania were all cleared to contest for the leadership position of CAF earlier in the week by FIFA.