Caf President Ahmad Ahmad was denied a visa to travel to the United States to attend crucial Fifa Council meeting in Miami set for Friday.
The reasons for the refusal of Ahmad’s visa by the US authorities are unknown. The United States government does not prohibit travel by Malagasy citizens.
The refusal of a US visa is particularly unusual for a senior official attending a major meeting in the country.
It is unclear whether he will be able to appeal the decision on time or whether senior US Government forces will intervene on his behalf – all of which will depend on the reasons for the visa refusal.
Ahmad 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 United States is set to host the World Cup in 2026 alongside Mexico and Canada.
The possible expansion of the 2022 World Cup is poised to dominate discussions
Infantino wants to increase the number of teams due to take part in the footballing showpiece from 32 to 48, bringing forward by four years an expansion which has already been set for the 2026 finals.
Ahmad was elected president of Caf in 2017, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office.
Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou’s 20, official results showed.
The 59-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation in 2003.