The Confederation of African Football President Ahmad’s appeal against a five-year ban from all football-related activity is being heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The hearing is expected to last two days, and the CAS has said it should render a verdict in advance of the CAF Presidential election on March 12.
Ahmad had been banned from all footballing activity for five years by FIFA in November after being found to have committed four breaches of the ethics code.
The Malagasy official was also fined CHF200,000 (£164,000/$220,000) for having “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President,” FIFA said in a statement at the time.
The BBC had reported beforehand that Ahmad had been found guilty of ethics breaches relating to a 2017 deal with Tactical Steel, where an associate of Ahmad – who denied wrongdoing – has alleged links.
That agreement was among findings revealed in an independent audit report earlier in 2020, which labelled CAF’s accounts as “unreliable and not trustworthy”.
Ahmad appealed to the CAS, which in January temporarily suspended the five-year ban, reinstalling him as CAF President.
However, Ahmad remains ineligible to stand for re-election – something which would only be possible to change if his appeal were successful.
Four candidates are on the ballot for CAF President as things stand: Ahmed Yahya, President of the Mauritanian Football Federation; South African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe; Senegalese Football Federation President, Augustin Senghor; and Jacques Anouma, Honorary President of the Ivorian Football Federation.
Motsepe appears set to become the new CAF President following talks between the candidates and a reported deal which would see Senghor and Yahaya support Motsepe and take vice-president positions instead.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has met with all four candidates in recent times and his African tour concluded in Morocco, where in-person CAF elections are due to be staged next week.
Ahmad was elected CAF President in 2017.