Outgoing president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Ahmad Ahmad, hails from Madagascar and has led the football body since 2017. Ahmad, who holds a Masters 2 Degree in Sports Management from the Claude Bernard University of Lyon, the certification of third Degree Federal Coach diplomas with the Malagasy Football Federation (FMF).
Ahmad won the CAF Presidency on 17 March 2017 at the CAF General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 34 out of 54 votes. Ahmad unseated former CAF President Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, who had led the football body for 29 years.
SAFA says the election of Ahmad a new dawn of continental football:
He was also elected vice-President of FIFA.
In his campaign for CAF Presidency, Ahmad presented a programme titled “Together for Change,” which rested on four main pillars; transparency, open and modern governance, transformation of CAF and increasing revenue for CAF.
Achievements in football
- In 1989, Ahmad founded the first regional games in Madagascar, the Melaky games,
- From 1988 to 1993, Ahmad served as the Deputy General Secretary of the Mahajanga Football League,
- From 2000 to 2003, he served as the Vice-President of the Malagasy Handball Federation. During this period, Ahmad also served as Vice-President of the Malagasy Federation of Sport for All as well as a member of the International Sports Film and Television Federation,
- From 2003 to 2017, he was the Professor of Sports Legislation and Marketing at the National Sports Academy,
- From 2005 to 2011, he served as Vice-President of the Malagasy Olympic Committee,
- In 2017, he was elected CAF President.
Reform of African football competitions
In 2017, Ahmad proposed the reform to the format of African football competitions, particularly the African Cup of Nations (Afcon). The new format was accepted and implemented in 2019, where the Afcon was held in Egypt.
The format added to the number of countries that can participate in the competition and the introduction of VAR.
In July 2019, Ahmad announced that CAF finals would be reduced from two legs to one match at a neutral venue from the next season.
Women’s football in the continent underwent massive transformation under Ahmad.
In July 2020, CAF announced a development in women’s football under the theme “It’s time, It’s now.” The strategy was set on five main pillars; development, competitions, marketing and promotion, professionalisation and leadership, and social impact.
Uder Ahmad’s proposal, CAF Executive announced in July 2020 the Women’s Champion’s League, which would kick-start in 2021. The first edition of is expected to consist of eight teams.
Under Ahmad, CAF decided to terminate a 12-year standing agreement with Lagardère after an evaluation of the federation’s marketing and sponsorships contracts in a bid to increase CAF’s revenue and to enable investment in the continent’s development football. This decision was deemed as “financially dangerous” for CAF by COMESA and criminal with regard to competition rules.
Due to difficulties faced by CAF’s Executive Committee, Ahmad requested for a six-month partnership with FIFA in 2019, which was approved by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. This was so the international football body could audit CAF.
CAF planned to use the results from the audit to present a new idea under the theme “Transform CAF 2021.
While attending the FIFA Congress in Paris, France, Ahmad was questioned by the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Fiscal Infractions (OCLCIFF).
This as CAF was suspected of favouring the company Tactical Steel to provide the federation with equipment for Chan 2018, breaking the deal CAF had with Puma to provide the equipment.
However, Ahmad was not charged after the hearing.
In October 2020, Ahmad announced that he would stand for CAF Presidency re-election in March 2021.
His campaign was, however, handed a devastating blow when FIFA handed him a five-year ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) for financial misconduct.
The FIFA Ethics Committee found that Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty by offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, and misappropriation of funds.
FIFA also fined him 200 000 Swiss francs ($200 000).
On 25 November 2020, Ahmad announced plans to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.