The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), on Wednesday, conducted an appeal hearing regarding the complaint filed by Maldivian football official Mariyam Mohamed to overturn an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) election for FIFA Council seats.
Member of the AFC Women's Committee and head of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM)'s women’s department Mariyam Mohamed alleges that AFC failed to adhere to its election regulations and violated a statute protecting gender equality.
During the vote conducted on April 6 in Kuala Lampur, Mariyam contested for the seat reserved for women among Asia’s delegates on the 37-member FIFA Council.
After losing the election, Mariyam filed a formal complaint with the AFC, accusing President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of exerting undue influence over the polls.
In a letter addressed to AFC’s election oversight committee, Mariyam stated that she was summoned to a meeting ahead of the election, during which the OCA president informed her that she had no future in football if she stayed in the election against the candidate he supported, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron from Bangladesh.
According to Mariyam, the sheikh also attempted to sway her by offering "any position in AFC or FIFA", in the event she complied.
In her letter, the Maldivian football official asserted that "women’s football should work and run independently of the apparent politics and vote-rigging that clearly occurred."
CAS, an international body established in 1984 to settle sports disputes through arbitration, is expected to take several weeks to deliver its final verdict.
Sheikh Ahmad has previously faced numerous accusations of corruption and misconduct. In November 2018, he resigned as head of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and member of the International Olympic Committee after being accused of a forgery case in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2017, a US federal court implicated Sheikh Ahmad in bribing Asian soccer officials to influence elections.