By Piers Edwards
Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad was suspended by Fifa five years in November.
Madagascar’s Ahmad has been dramatically restored as Confederation of African Football (Caf) president following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Ahmad was banned by Fifa in November for five years after football’s world governing body found him to have breached several of its ethics codes.
The Malagasy appealed his decision at Cas, which issued a preliminary ruling on Friday.
Ahmad is still ineligible to contest Caf’s presidential elections in March however, since the Cas decision came after both the Caf’s Governance Committee and Fifa’s Review Committee met earlier this week to discuss the eligibility of candidates.
Cas says it will hear Ahmad’s appeal in full on 2 March, with a decision issued before the Caf presidential elections on 12 March.
“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 [Fifa ban],” Cas, sport’s highest legal body, said in a statement.
This effective suspension of the Fifa ruling will be in place ‘until the day that the final Cas award is issued’.
Since he was banned when Fifa met on Tuesday and Caf on Thursday to vet presidential aspirants, Ahmad – who will now resume his role as a vice-president of football’s global body – was deemed ineligible to run.
He will now need to overturn the decisions ruling him ineligible to run, since his appeal at Cas was not against the decision barring him from contesting the elections but against his Fifa ban.
Should Cas find against him when its hearing takes place in early March, Ahmad – who proclaimed the backing of over 46 federations, out of 54, shortly his ban – will be ruled out of the race once and for all.
As of this week, four candidates were cleared to run for the Caf elections on 12 March: Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), Augustin Senghor (Senegal), Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania).