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Acting CAF president Selemani disqualified from FIFA elections



African football’s interim president Constant Omari Selemani said on Saturday he will appeal a decision to bar him from running for a seat on the FIFA Council.

The acting head of African soccer, Constant Omari Selemani, has been disqualified from standing in March’s Confederation of African Football elections, effectively ending his tenure on the FIFA Council and as a vice president of CAF.

Selemani has served as acting president of the Confederation of African Football since his predecessor Ahmad Ahmad was banned by FIFA’s ethics committee in November. The FIFA review committee said on Wednesday Selemani had failed the eligibility test for a position on the FIFA Council “because of an ongoing formal investigation by the FIFA ethics committee”.

This ruled Selemani, the Congolese football association president, out of the CAF elections in Rabat, Morocco on March 12.

Selemani said in an interview with France24 on Saturday that he deplored the decision. He said FIFA should have applied “the presumption of innocence” and confirmed he would appeal.

FIFA has not given any details of ethics committee’s investigation into Selemani, who was appointed CAF vice president 18 months ago.

Ahmad was also ruled out of a bid for re-election but had his five-year ban temporarily frozen on Friday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which said they would hear his appeal on March 2 and deliver a verdict before March 12, so as not to prejudice his chances of running for re-election should his suspension be overturned.

Ahmad was banned for five years by FIFA in November after being accused of abusing office, mishandling of funds and trading gifts. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The temporary stay effectively allows Ahmad to resume his role as CAF president.

The FIFA review committee said on Wednesday Selemani had failed the eligibility test for a position on the FIFA Council “because of an ongoing formal investigation by the FIFA ethics committee”.

Selemani and CAF could not immediately be reached for comment.

Selemani had been seeking re-election to the FIFA Council when CAF holds its elections on March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.

FIFA Council members are automatically also members of CAFs executive committee and in mid-2019, Selemani was named CAF’s first vice president by then President Ahmad Ahmad.

Wednesday’s decision follows just months after Ahmad was banned.

Ahmad was banned for five years by FIFA in November after being accused of abusing office, mishandling of funds and trading gifts. He has denied any wrongdoing.

There are no details of the ethics committee investigation into Selemani, who was appointed acting head of African football when Ahmad’s ban was announced and will continue until March’s elections.

Ahmad has also been ruled out of March’s elections, where four candidates are seeking the presidency -- Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast, Mauritania football association president Ahmed Yahya, Senegal FA president Augustin Senghor and South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe.

Five African seats on the FIFA Council will also be determined by the voting of the CAF member countries at the election.

(Reuters.)

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