Bility battles at CAS for appeal hearing dates as CAF Congress nears and FIFA seeks to delay

By Osasu Obayiuwana

January 28 – The fight of Musa Bility, the former Liberia FA President, to overturn his 10-year FIFA ban, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has taken a new turn, with both parties yet to agree on a hearing date for the appeal. 

FIFA asked CAS for a final hearing date at the end of April, despite the fact that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will be conducting an election to replace Bility on its executive committee in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, on the 24th of the same month – where its next Ordinary General Assembly will take place.

In a letter sent to its member associations, on December 13 last year, Mouad Hadji, CAF’s Secretary-General, said the CAF executive committee position of Bility is vacant and an election to replace him will take place.

Hadji asked countries in the West African region of CAF – which is the position that Bility is occupying – to file their electoral nominations, despite the fact the Liberian is yet to exhaust all legal remedies against the FIFA ban – which includes going to the Swiss Federal Court, should his CAS appeal fail.

Bility has protested to CAS against FIFA’s request and has demanded for a conclusion of the case by mid-March at the latest, in order for his status within CAF to be clear by the time the Ordinary General Assembly takes place in Cameroon.

Last August, football’s world governing body found Bility “guilty of having misappropriated FIFA funds, as well as having received benefits and found himself in situations of conflict of interest.” The misappropriation of funds relates to its “11 against Ebola” campaign and its Financial Assistance Programme.

FIFA said it has been investigating the 52-year-old since May 2018, following a forensic audit of the Liberia FA. While the verdict banning Bility was delivered by the Adjudicatory Chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee on 12 February 2019, it inexplicably took over five months – 24 July to be exact – for the ban to be imposed.

Bility has repeatedly denied being guilty of the charges.

Should the Liberian’s ban be overturned by CAS, he will remain a member of the CAF Executive Committee until mid-March 2021, when his tenure, and that of Ahmad, the organisation’s president, will terminate.

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