8th March 2021
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the 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) (the Challenged Decision). The CAS Panel has partially upheld the appeal and has reduced the length of the suspension imposed on Mr Ahmad to two years, starting today, less the period of suspension already served between 19 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, and has also reduced the fine, fixed now at CHF 50,000.
In the Challenged Decision, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee found that Mr Ahmad had committed several infractions of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE). 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 were imposed on him. In his appeal to the CAS, Mr Ahmad sought the annulment of the challenged decision.
In agreement with Mr Ahmad and FIFA, an expedited procedure was conducted and a hearing was held by videoconference on 2 and 3 March 2021. The Panel of arbitrators in charge of the matter, composed of Mr Olivier Carrard (Switzerland), President, Prof. Thomas Clay (France), and of Prof. Massimo Coccia (Italy), after having deliberated, found M. Ahmad guilty of violating the FCE for the following offences:
- Violation of articles 20 and 28 FCE: failure to record various financial transactions, acceptance of cash payments, bank transfers of bonuses and indemnities without a contractual or regulatory basis;
- Violation of articles 20, 25 and 28 FCE: distribution of gifts and misappropriation of funds (use of CAF's money to help finance an invitation to a pilgrimage to Mecca (Umrah) in favour of certain presidents of national federations, an invitation which was not directly related to football; contrary to the rest of the decision, this offence was only retained by a majority of the Panel and not unanimously);
On the other hand, the Panel cleared Mr. Ahmad of any breach of the "Tactical Steel" contracts: the Panel considers that the documents in the file do not support the conclusion that Mr. Ahmad would have received any personal benefit, in particular in the context of the transaction with Tactical Steel for the equipment for the 2018 African Nations Championship (no breach of the duty of loyalty and no abuse of power (Articles 15, 25 and 28 FCE)).
In view of the urgency, the CAS Panel issued only the decision, without the grounds, which will be notified to the parties in the coming days.