Africa’s leading football official, Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar has been refused a visa to travel to the US to attend the crucial FIFA Council meetings in Miami at the end of this week, according to African sources.
Ahmad, President of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), is a key ally of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and would have been one of the important voices of support for Infantino’s global calendar plans. The reasons for the denial of Ahmad’s visa by US authorities were unknown. There are no US government-issued travel bans to the US on Malagasy citizens. Madagascar is not part of the US’s ESTA Visa waiver programme.
The denial of a US visa was particularly unusual for such a high-ranking official attending an important meeting in the country. It was not clear whether he would be able to appeal the decision in time to attend or whether higher US government forces will intervene on his behalf – much would obviously depend on the reasons for the visa denial
The US is taking the lead in hosting the World Cup in 2026 and while it questions their travel policy; it did also spotlight the CAF president, who had come under increasing criticism by his own supporters within Africa for an increasingly autocratic decision-making style at the confederation. That style led to an open letter from CAF executive committee member, Musa Bility, former president of the Liberian FA, questioning Ahmad’s authority to make what had apparently been unilateral decisions on the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations, as well as on the ethics surrounding a deal for a new betting sponsor.