Soccer-'Improper influence' in Asian football election, CAS rules

26 Jan 2021 / 12:02 H.

    Jan 26 (Reuters) - The highest court in sport has ruled that a third party improperly tried to influence the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)'s election of a female delegate to the FIFA Council in 2019 by persuading one of the candidates not to run.

    Mariyam Mohamed of the Maldives, who lost the election to Bangaldeshi incumbent Mahfuza Akhter Kiron, last year launched two appeals against the election result at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    The ruling partially upheld her complaints, holding that the election had been subject to "third-party interference" and that the AFC failed to protect its election from gender discrimination.

    It also ruled that the AFC's Electoral Committee was wrong to refuse to investigate Mohamed's complaint and that the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee's decision not to investigate her claims in a timely manner "resulted in a denial of justice".

    The ruling only partially upheld Mohamed's appeals, however, as it did not order the annulment of the results and the re-running of the election.

    The panel of judges made this decision because the two AFC committees did not have the "competence" to order the elections be run again, the ruling said.

    The ruling also noted that "the attempts to influence the elections through inducements were not effective, in that Mariyam Mohamed did not withdraw her candidature" and therefore the election was not ultimately impacted.

    The AFC did not immediately comment on the CAS ruling.

    (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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