MPs call to end sports crisis
KUWAIT: In its first special debate, the National Assembly demanded yesterday that the sports crisis that attracted international suspensions must be resolved within two months by issuing new legislation that conform to world sports charters. MPs voting by a large margin a recommendation calling to form a sports and youth committee next week that will start immediately to work on a new sports law agreed by all sides and also by the international sports organizations.
The recommendation, which was approved by all Cabinet ministers present in the Assembly, also calls on the government to contact international sports bodies and inform them of the plan and request a temporary lifting of the 14-month suspension to allow Kuwaiti teams to take part in international events.
The resolutions were approved after a marathon sixhour debate called by 11 lawmakers to find a solution to the suspension imposed on Kuwaiti sports since Oct 2015, allegedly over government interference in sports. During the debate, a large number of MPs spoke, and most of them strongly lashed out at what they called a political struggle between leading figures in the country for personal and political objectives.
Many MPs accused the government of a lack of will to lift the ban on Kuwait by failing to convince international organizations, and also for interfering in local sports. Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah denied that the government was unwilling to end the ban, but insisted that the suspension imposed on Kuwait has no legal basis.
He said the laws issued in the past few years, and specifically the law issued in June this year, did not constitute any interference in local sports. The minister directly accused Kuwaitis holding leading positions in international sports organizations of causing the suspension in collaboration with certain officials in local sports bodies, who complained against the country.
Speaking during the debate, opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the problem of sports in the country is a struggle between top officials.
He said the struggle festered because the government could not stop it, adding that every side is trying to push the solution that serves its interests. Opposition MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said the struggles that led to
the sports suspension are political in nature and are between influential people and even bigger than the government. He said the Assembly must find a roadmap that should be implemented within two months to end the suspension.
MP Hamdan Al-Azmi named top officials as the main people fighting in the sports field. He also accused the government of not wanting a quick solution, because the required legislation can be completed within a week. He also said the struggle is bigger than the government. Several MPs warned that if the government does not seriously try to resolve the crisis, they will grill the information and youth minister.
MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said “the crisis is political but it is even bigger than politics”. He said the entire issue can be resolved by issuing a professional sports law that can be prepared within a few weeks. MP Riyadh Al-Adasani said the crisis started in 2010, adding it is political in nature. MP Saleh Ashour accused the government of not being serious enough to resolve the crisis and charged that the main aim of the legislation passed in June is to send someone he named to jail. MP Rakan Al-Nasef said the suspension was caused by a complaint sent from Kuwait to international sports bodies, adding that “we should not give these bodies a blank cheque”.
But Sheikh Salman insisted that the reason behind dissolving Kuwait’s Olympic committee and some other federations was because of administrative and financial violations, and that the cases have been referred to court. A number of MPs called on the minister to step down for failing to handle the crisis.