Kuwait’s Government has reportedly decided to withdraw the country from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) during a cabinet meeting at Bayan Palace, casting doubt on the future of the new OCA headquarters in the Gulf nation’s capital.
It comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) for “political interference” last week, after a deadline of October 27 to amend a new law in the Gulf country expired with the situation unresolved.
Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah told the Kuwait News Agency that Kuwait has opted to “break off its agreement” with the OCA.
If confirmed, it is a dramatic development as the OCA’s President, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, is Kuwaiti, with the official opening the organisation’s new headquarters in Kuwait City in March 2014.
The country’s Public Authority of Sport had previously claimed that Sheikh Ahmad, also the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) President, should have done more to help them with regards to the suspension, although he insisted there was nothing he could do.
It was also alleged by the body that the suspension was “plotted inside Kuwait and plotted abroad”.
The IOC said the new law threatens the autonomy of the KOC and all other National Federations, while also meaning the country would no longer comply with the Court of Arbitration for Sport or the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“I’m very sad, upset,” Sheikh Ahmad told insidethegames last week.
“They [Kuwait] were facing this before the last Olympic Games and now they have made the same mistake again.
“I’m not involved in local sport.
“Politics in Kuwait has played more of a part in this than sport.”
The cabinet meeting, which was held under the chairmanship of Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, reviewed the sports scene in the Middle Eastern country in the wake of the IOC’s decision.
insidethegames has contacted the OCA for an official comment and is awaiting their response.
Kuwait was automatically suspended from the OCA as a result of its IOC suspension, which ruled them out of all continental activities, including the OCA and Olympic Solidarity Regional Forum scheduled for the end of next month.
Earlier this week, the International Basketball Association (FIBA) became the latest body to suspend Kuwait on the same grounds.
As a consequence of this, Kuwaiti teams and officials may no longer participate in official FIBA competitions or activities.
Football’s world governing body FIFA suspended the Kuwait Football Association for the same reasons last month.
The KOC had been previously suspended in 2010, again for Government interference, and while the current suspension is in place Kuwait’s athletes will not be able to compete under their own flag.
It has also been confirmed that the ongoing Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait has been stripped of its Olympic qualification status.
Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, has claimed the IOC suspension is “totally unacceptable”.
By Daniel Etchells
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz