Banned by FIFA for financial wrongdoing, Ahmad Ahmad was reinstated as head of African soccer on Friday during a presidential election campaign pending his urgent appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
CAS said it granted Ahmad an interim ruling to freeze his five-year ban by FIFA ahead of an appeal hearing on March 2. A verdict is promised before the Confederation of African Football elections on March 12.
The court said there was a ``risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad'' if he remained banned from leading the Cairo-based African soccer body while awaiting an appeal during the election campaign.
CAS said though its judges ruled in Ahmad's favor, they ``emphasized that such temporary decision does not prejudge in any way the decision it will take after analysing the merits of the case.''
Still, it was unclear whether Ahmad _ a former minister in Madagascar's government _ can be recognized as a candidate in the weeks ahead.
Ahmad was barred this week from the election in a mandatory review by a FIFA review panel of each would-be candidate's integrity and eligibility.
In a second decision on Friday, CAS rejected the soccer official's request for a separate interim ruling and, instead, upheld FIFA's right to make decisions about the African elections that were ``aimed at preventing Mr Ahmad from participating.''
Ahmad was banned in November when FIFA ethics judges found he ``breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds, and abused his position as the CAF president.''
He was elected in 2017 and was seeking a second four-year term leading African soccer as a FIFA vice president.
FIFA integrity checks were passed this week by four presidential candidates: Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, Patrice Motsepe of South Africa, Augustin Senghor of Senegal, and Ahmed Yaya of Mauritania.
Motsepe is a billionaire businessman and the brother-in-law of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The 54 CAF member federations are due to have their March 12 election meeting in Rabat, Morocco.
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