Kuwait condemned for government takeover
THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) on August 29 strongly condemned the Kuwait authorities for using police to seize the headquarters of two key sports bodies as part of a mounting power struggle.
Police moved in earlier this week to take over the Kuwait Olympic Committee and Kuwait Football Association after the government ordered the leader of the two bodies to be replaced.
The action heightened a stand-off that has seen Kuwait suspended by the IOC and world football body FIFA since October 2015 over laws that that have increased government control over the Gulf state’s sporting bodies.
“The IOC strongly condemns these actions which, regrettably, continue to worsen the situation instead of helping to find solutions,” said a letter sent by the IOC after the police action.
A copy of the letter, sent to Kuwait’s Youth and Information Minister Sheikh Salman Sabah al-Salem al-Homud al-Sabah, was obtained by AFP.
“The IOC will hold the government authorities responsible for any loss or damage to the KOC properties and assets, in particular those derived from IOC/Olympic Movement funding,” the letter said.
A government sports commission headed by Sheikh Salman ordered the replacement of Sheikh Talal Fahad alSabah as head of the KOC and KFA. Sheikh Talal has said that “threat and intimidation” had been used against him.
The IOC letter said the Olympic movement would not recognise any of the “the so-called ‘interim committee’ appointed by government authorities in place of the duly elected office-bearers”.
The Asian Football Confederation has also told its members not to cooperate with the new leadership of the KFA. Fawaz al-Hassawi, who was named as new football association chief, is the owner of English Championship side Nottingham Forest.
The IOC said it was “still hoping that reason and common sense will prevail” in the stand-off.
“The IOC calls on the highest authorities of Kuwait to work constructively and responsibly on a solution ... instead of taking actions which have no effect other than to make the situation worse,” said the letter. –