By Benjamin Wickham
KIGALI, March 16 — Former Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad has claimed that FIFA’s ethics committee lacks independence and that the world football governing body is controlling Africa for strategic reasons. Ahmad made the comments after his two-year ban from football ended in December 2022. Ahmad alleges that his suspension was politically motivated after he refused to follow FIFA’s desired aims, particularly its decision in February 2020 to cancel the assistance FIFA was then giving CAF at its headquarters in Egypt.
Ahmad claims that FIFA was angered when CAF chose not to extend its deal with the organization, which saw FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura serve as the ‘general delegate for Africa’ in Cairo for six months in an effort to improve governance. Infantino, FIFA’s president, left the meeting in Morocco after the announcement. A month later, Ahmad was told that an ethics investigation had been opened against him. In November 2020, he was banned for five years and fined $200,000 after he was found guilty of breaching codes related to duty of loyalty, offering and accepting gifts, abuse of position, and misappropriation of funds.
Despite FIFA’s statement that Ahmad’s ban was independent and impartial, he claims that it was politically motivated and that Infantino orchestrated the reference regarding him to the ethics committee. The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced Ahmad’s ban by over half in 2021, which he claims is evidence that the errors he was accused of were subject to interpretation.
Many African officials have accused FIFA of “colonialism,” but few have spoken out against the organization’s conduct, citing concerns about possible repercussions. For example, Guinea-Bissau’s FA president Manuel Nascimento spoke out against the announcement of Samoura’s role at CAF but was later handed a ten-year ban by FIFA, who accused him of participating in an “incident of mob justice” in his homeland, despite the local police found him innocent. FIFA banned another African FA president, Liberian Musa Bility, in 2019, and Bility has claimed that his suspension and $500,000 fine was motivated by his criticism of Infantino. – Namibia Daily News