THE BIG PICTURE: Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad steps down from IOC and ANOC posts after indictment

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (KUW)

The current explosion in the Olympic world is the saga of Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the head of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Sheikh Ahmad, as he is known, was indicted in Switzerland on charges of “fabricating” an arbitration case in order to manufacture “evidence of corrupt practices by ex-premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and former parliament chief Jassem al-Khorafi.”

Sheikh Ahmad is a former minister of the Kuwaiti government himself, for energy and economics, and this affair is widely seen as an internal struggle about future succession in the country.

Nevertheless, Sheikh Ahmad wrote to the IOC and suspended himself from his duties as a member. “Please allow myself to state in all clear terms that the judiciary matter … is a politically and maliciously motivated case, relating to a Kuwaiti political dispute dating back to 2012. The matter has absolutely nothing to do with sport and I will vigorously defend my
innocence and integrity before the competent Swiss courts, which I trust, and I am confident that I will be successful in this.”

The Associated Press reported “Sheikh Ahmad has also been asked by the IOC ethics commission to attend its Jan. 11 meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. His trial in Geneva is expected in the first half of next year.”

He also suspended himself from his ANOC duties, effective immediately after opening the ANOC General Assembly meeting in Tokyo (JPN). ANOC elections are to be held at this year’s meeting and Sheikh Ahmad was the only candidate for the office of President, which he has held since 2012.

He had to give up his association with FIFA in 2017 after being identified as “involved” in a bribery scheme of Audit and Compliance Committee member Richard Lai from Guam, who pled guilty to wire fraud charges.

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