PtG Article 19.04.2016

Power struggle in Kuwait has ties to international sports politics

Sanctions on Kuwaiti sports form part of a local political power struggle that implicates international sports leaders, writes Danish newspaper.

In a series of articles, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and Norwegian freelance journalist Andreas Selliaas have unfolded a report about how several Kuwaiti sports allegedly have been caught out the middle of a power struggle between Sheikh Ahmed Al-Farah Al-Sabah, IOC member, FIFA ExCo member and president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), and the Kuwaiti government. A power struggle that is also involving other prominent sports leaders.

Since April 2015, Kuwait has been banned from 12 different international sports organisations including football, handball, swimming, as well as from the OCA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to inappropriate government interference in local sport organisations.

But, according to sources, this government interference is make-believe, writes Ekstra Bladet. Representatives from the Kuwaiti government claim that the proposed sports law that has led to the current ban on Kuwait does not exit.

According to Ekstra Bladet’s sources, the OCA president is using his influential network to strengthen his local political position and pressure the Kuwaiti government into renewing an agreement between Kuwait and the OCA.

The Kuwaiti government is looking to end this agreement, which includes political immunity for employees of the OCA. Member of the Kuwaiti parliament, Abdullah Al-Maiouf, says to Ekstra Bladet that he wants the country’s anti-corruption unit to initiate an investigation into the OCA.

In an email to Ekstra Bladet, the OCA media manager, Jeans Zhou Jian, denies allegations that the OCA and its president are behind the ban on Kuwait.

Update 26 April:

An article in Mail on Sunday referred to allegations raised by Kuwaiti MP, Abdullah Al-Mayouf, according to whom there has been manipulating of the elections in some Asian federations. 

Based on documentation provided by Ekstra Bladet and Mail on Sunday, FIFA has initiated a probe to clarify whether the OCA has acted according to statutes, writes the two newspapers.

More information


Read the articles (in Danish) here: