Kuwaiti authorities have filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for suspending the country in the Lausanne Civil Court, insidethegames has been told.
This comes after a “parallel” Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) was threatened with legal action by the IOC for violating branding rules.
It marks another escalation of a row which saw Kuwait suspended from the IOC and barred from August’s Rio Olympic Games due to Government interference.
A new sports law granted by the Sports Ministry, with the power to take over all sports bodies and National Federations, as well as being able to control decisions including appointments and financial matters, prompted the suspension.
Sheikh Fahad Jaber Alali Al Sabah was duly appointed President of the parallel body, which calls itself the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC).
But the IOC threatened legal action if they did not cease to use Olympic branding and the NOC name.
insidethegames has been told, however, that the legal action filed this week used Olympic branding as well as the KOC label.
Sports officials thus claim this has provided them with evidence to be successful in their legal case.
New statutes were proposed in Kuwait’s National Assembly in June after a United Nations-brokered meeting earlier this year in Geneva had failed to broker a solution.
Article 11 proposed that the Government’s Public Sports Authority (PSA) has the power to cancel any decision made by either the Board or General Assembly of the KOC or any club, National Federation or other sporting organization.
Article 12 gave the PSA permission to dissolve any of these bodies in certain cases, including when it is in the “public interest” to do so.
Among the other statues was a provision, listed as Article 27, which stated: “All sports bodies shall be subject to the supervision and control of the competent Ministry in all administrative, financial and organisational aspects.
“In this respect, the competent Minister shall appoint specialized supervisors to carry out the control.”
All of these elements were subsequently used to justify the dissolving of the KOC and its replacement with the Sheikh Fahad-headed body.
As well as the KOC, national governing bodies for soccer, swimming and handball have also been suspended.
Basketball and judo bodies have also been dissolved today.
There has also been speculation that federations representing volleyball, squash and gymnastics will be similarly affected.
The IOC letter was also sent to Sheikh Salman al-Humoud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti Minister of State for Youth Affairs who is seen as the instigator behind the new laws.
Sheikh Salman resigned as head of the Asian Shooting Confederation last year after standing unsuccessfully against Mexico’s Olegario Vazquez Raña to become head of the International Shooting Sport Federation in 2014, an election he lost by 165 votes to 128.
Sheikh Salman blamed his cousin, the Association of National Olympic Committees and Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, for his defeat after it was alleged beforehand that he used his Government position to illegally collect votes.
It is thought that many of the subsequent developments in Kuwait have been a form of revenge against Sheikh Ahmad and the wider sports world.
A Kuwaiti Government appeal against the IOC suspension was rejected at the Civil Court of Canton de Vaud in Switzerland in August.
Kuwaiti athletes were only able to compete as independent athletes at Rio 2016, where shooter Fehaid Al-Deehani won what would have been a first Olympic gold for the Gulf nation in the double trap event.
Kuwait was ordered to pay $11,500 in legal costs.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.