MPs call to end sports cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

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.

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