Kuwaiti authorities seize offices of the National Olympic Committee and the National Football Association due to alleged financial irregularities.
By Mads A. Wickstrøm
In a move to tackle financial irregularities, the Public Sports Authority (PSA) in Kuwait decided, on August 25th, to dissolve the country’s National Olympic Committee (KOC) as well as the National Football Association (KFA), Inside the Games writes. The board of directors, within the KOC and the KFA respectively, has been replaced by interim commissions in an attempt to “tackle all irregularities done by the two dismissed boards,” the PSA says. According to state news agency KUNA, the dismissed boards had refused to co-operate in addressing the irregularities which, in turn, resulted in the decision by the PSA to replace the boards of directors.The interim commissions chosen to oversee the KOC and the KFA are to be led by Sheikh Fahd Jaber al-Ali and Fawaz al-Hassawi respectively, although al-Hassawi is yet to be confirmed officially. The PSA has granted the commissions a six-month mandate.
Kuwait is still suspended by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to governmental interference in Kuwaiti sport organisations. The rulings by FIFA and the IOC were made in October 2015.
Earlier this year, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and Norwegian journalist Andreas Selliaas reported how numerous Kuwaiti sport associations, allegedly, had been caught in the middle of a power struggle between the Kuwaiti government and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Farah Al-Sabah, IOC member, FIFA executive committee member and president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). According to Ekstra Bladet’s sources, the OCA president used his influential network to pressure the Kuwaiti government into renewing an agreement between Kuwait and the OCA by suspending Kuwait from FIFA and the IOC.
The agreement reportedly provided the OCA with swathes of land as a place where Kuwaiti sports could develop. Instead, the property was used mainly for commercial purposes. Additionally, the agreement included political immunity for employees of the OCA, wrote Ekstra Bladet.
Meetings between the Kuwaiti government and the IOC have been taking place since the suspension began last October, but all have failed to reach a resolution, according to Inside the Games.
Kenyan National Olympic Committee disbanded
On August 25th – the same day as the dissolution of the Kuwaiti Olympic committee, Kenya’s government disbanded its Olympic committee. The decision was based on this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic committee, organisationally, performed worse than expected. According to a New York Times article, the Kenyan government blamed its national Olympic committee for disorganization that “dampened the spirits and the pride of the people in Kenya”. Missing uniforms and problems with airline tickets, that left some athletes stranded, are among the things being part of the disorganisation by the national Olympic committee.