REUTERS – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an Thursday an appeal by Liberian Musa Hassan Bility to be allowed to stand in February’s election for the presidency of world soccer body FIFA.
Bility, head of the Liberian Football Association, had appealed a decision in November by FIFA’s Ad hoc Electoral Committee to rule him out on integrity grounds.
“The CAS has dismissed the appeal and upheld the FIFA AEC Decision,” the Lausanne-based court said in a statement after an expedited hearing.
“The FIFA Ad hoc Electoral Committee noted that Mr Bility had failed to pass the integrity checks carried out by the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, and for this reason, could not be admitted as a candidate.”
The CAS said a hearing with the parties involved had been held on Dec. 23. It said the full reasoning for the dismissal of the appeal would be issued in early 2016.
The Feb. 26 election will decide who replaces outgoing president Sepp Blatter, who has been banned from football for eight years amid the worst corruption scandal in FIFA’s 100-plus year history.
FIFA is currently being led by acting chief Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.
The soccer body’s electoral committee said in November that five candidates had passed integrity checks and were approved for the election at a special congress in Zurich.
The five are Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne of France, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino of Switzerland and South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale.
Bility was at the forefront of an unsuccessful bid in 2013 to overturn a change to African Football Confederation (CAF) election rules that ensured long-serving Hayatou won another term as president.
He was subsequently banned by CAF for six months for using confidential documents without permission.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)