Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Ahmad has announced his intention to appeal the five-year ban handed to him by Fifa on Monday.
The Fifa vice-president was adjudged to have broken various ethics codes between 2017, when he was elected Caf president, and 2019.
“An appeal will be made before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to challenge this incomprehensible and shocking decision,” said a statement on behalf of Ahmad.
“Furthermore, he will request for the stay of the decision so as not to aggravate the prejudice he is suffering and allow him to campaign for his re-election to the Presidency of Caf.”
Ahmad, a former head of Madagascar’s Football Association, is facing a testing time if he is indeed to be a candidate in Caf’s presidential elections in March.
A Fifa ethics sanction can only be contested once the full grounds for the decision have been sent to the party, a process which can take up to 60 days, meaning it could come in January – just weeks before the election.
CAS will reject any appeal – which Ahmad’s camp has yet to formally submit – until the grounds are issued, meaning his case may well remain without resolution unless his legal team can successfully argue for a stay of execution to the decision, which could then theoretically enable him to run again.
Shortly after Ahmad announced his campaign, BBC Sport Africa reported that the 61-year-old was facing a ban from football – which Fifa announced earlier this week.
His role in employing a little-known French gym manufacturer, Tactical Steel, to supply sportswear to Caf was one of the reasons given for his ban.
Tactical Steel’s owner Romuald Seillier is an old friend of Ahmad’s former attaché, Loic Gerand. There is no suggestion that either man profited personally from the deal.
Ahmad’s decision to also head up a religious trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2018, which involved 15 Muslim presidents of African football associations joining him in Mecca, was also cited as a breach of Fifa’s ethics in that it construed both an offering of gifts and a misuse of funds.
Nonetheless, Ahmad – who has denied any wrongdoing in the past – has described the Fifa decision as neither ‘fair’ nor ‘impartial’ while also questioning the way in which the Ethics committee went about its process.
“The (Ethics Committee) hastened to issue an urgent and immediately enforceable decision, without providing the ground of the sentence, despite its seriousness,” the statement added.
“The reason for such haste could be that this sentence would prevent President Ahmad from being re-elected to the presidency of Caf in the elections … despite the many supporters already declared in his favour.”
Last month, a letter was published in which 46 of Africa’s 54 member associations had given the Malagasy their backing.
While set to appeal this sanction, Ahmad is also facing a second Fifa ethics investigation relating to an amendment made to a TV deal in 2019.