Senior members of the Kuwaiti Government are to embark on a world tour in an attempt to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other International Federations to lift their respective suspensions of the Gulf nation, it has been revealed.
Kuwait was banned from the IOC in October for “undue Government interference” only three years after the lifting of a similar suspension shortly before London 2012.
A new law came into force that threatened the autonomy of the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) and all other National Federations, it was claimed, while also meaning the country would no longer comply with the Court of Arbitration for Sport or the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Seventeen other International Federations also suspended Kuwait, including FIFA.
Relations between international sport and the Government have since become increasingly hostile.
A one point Kuwaiti athletes were not allowed to even compete under the IOC or International Federation flag at events by their own officials, as usually is the case when a country is suspended.
Kuwaiti Federations and sporting leaders – including Association of National Olympic Committees and Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah – have also been handed fines and lawsuits for supposedly complying with the sports bodies.
In recent weeks, however, there appears to have been a slight cooling of tensions following a meeting with IOC officials.
Kuwaiti athletes appeared at the Asian Olympic Shooting Qualifier in New Delhi, moved to India after the IOC stripped its recognition of the Asian Championships in Kuwait City.
Abdulrahman Al-Faihan won a gold medal in the trap event, securing Kuwait a quota place for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“[The] Chairman of [the] National Assembly’s Youth and Sports Committee MP Abdullah Almaayouf announced a delegation would tour the world to rally support for efforts to end [the] IOC’s suspension of Kuwait’s sports activities,” a statement issued via the Information Ministry-linked Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) said.
The delegation plans to visit several world governing bodies, Almaayouf added.
Reaching a solution before FIFA’s Extraordinary Congress, due to take place i Zurich on February 26 is one aim.
Another is ensuring the IOC ban is lifted before Rio 2016.
It is ironic, though, that it is the Government themselves who are trying to get the ban lifted when they are accused of too much interference in sport in Kuwait.
The IOC have warned they will only lift Kuwait’s suspension when the sports law is amended.
One official notable by his absence from the announcement is Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah.
Personal animosity between him and his cousin, Sheikh Ahmad, is at the root of the crisis.
Sheikh Salman resigned as head of the Asian Shooting Confederation last year, and in 2014 stood unsuccessfully against Mexico’s IOC member Olegario Vazquez Raña as head of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), which he lost by 165 votes to 128.
insidethegames exclusively reported on the eve of the election how he had been supposedly using his Government position to illegally collect votes.
His representatives allegedly contacted Sports Ministers around the world on his behalf urging them to support his campaign.
The ISSF have now referred the matter to its Ethics Committee.
- By Nick Butler
- republished with permission insidethegames.biz