KUWAIT CITY, Oct 20 (KUNA): Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah on Monday blasted the FIFA for its recent decision to ban Kuwait from participation in international soccer activities.
“The decision is utterly unconvincing and unjustifiable. It’s an uncalculated punishment that harms the fame of the Kuwaiti sport,” the minister told reporters this evening. Sheikh Salman made the comments during a ceremony held by the Public Authority for Sports and Youth (PAYS) to honor the former board members of PAYS.
“Given its numerous contributions to FIFA and the international sports, the State of Kuwait doesn’t deserve this treatment,” he regretted. In the meantime, Sheikh Salman reaffirmed Kuwait’s “unequivocal respect” for the Olympic Charter and the international sports regulations. “The Kuwaiti legislations are more advanced than those of other countries in the region; they are on par with the international standards.
“It would have been more proper for FIFA to hold Kuwait in high esteem after His Highness the Amir decreed in 2012 amending the sports legislations to enshrine the independence of the sports institutions. But the FIFA, to the contrary, resorted to threats,” he went on.
“The International Olympic Committee issued to threats to Kuwait on July 20 and October 15. We offered detailed explanations regarding the legal and technical aspects of the matter to the honorable IOC deputy chairman and board members, but all to no avail,” he recalled.
“Out of keenness on participation in overseas sports activity, we keep the door open for further discussions of all sticking points during meetings between the IOC and our Olympic Committee in a responsible way,” Sheikh Salman went on.
He voiced hope that everybody will work for the interests of Kuwait and refrain from any measures that could have negative impacts on the progress of the sports movement in the country.
“The government remains committed to impartiality regarding the sports institutions and clubs, and will not interfere in the affairs of the Kuwait Football Association in keeping with the local and international regulations.
“Nevertheless, the government will continue shouldering its responsibility and offer limitless support to these institutions as usual in order to maintain the good image of the Kuwaiti sport,” he added.
Asked on the apology for the country’s inability to host the 23rd Gulf Cup, Sheikh Salman blamed the decision on the abrupt FIFA ban, adding that Kuwait was eager for the event and put all its resources at the disposal of the championship but faced formidable hurdles.
Meanwhile, the majority of Kuwaiti sports clubs have rejected the FIFA’s recent decision to suspend football activities in Kuwait as “unfair”, urging it to drop its decision immediately. Salmiya Sport Club Chairman Sheikh Turki Ahmad Al-Yusuf Al-Sabah urged, in a statement, the FIFA to scrap its decision “directly and immediately”.
He said that the majority of Kuwaiti sports clubs are opposed to the FIFA’s “unjust” decision against Kuwait’s football activities. He added that the majority of Kuwaiti sports clubs, notably 11 out of 16, have sent an urgent letter to the FIFA, stressing that the Kuwaiti clubs have full independence, and that there is no interference by a third party or any other party. “Kuwait’s football activities cannot be suspended according to intentions without any evidence or act committed,” he said.
He even vowed to take action against both Kuwaiti and international football federations due to relevant impacts on Kuwait’s sports reputation. A senior official on Tuesday commended the “sincere national stance” adopted by some Kuwaiti clubs in support to the country’s sports laws, utterly rejecting the FIFA’s recent “unjust” decision suspending Kuwait’s participation in international competitions.
This honorable stance reiterates independence of the sports scene in Kuwait and that the country’s relevant laws do not contravene with the Olympic Charter, Director General of the Public Authority for Youth and Sport (PAYS) Sheikh Ahmad Al-Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said in a press statement.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Mansour stressed the compatibility of Kuwait’s sports laws with the Olympic Charter and the statutes of the international federations. He noted that the nine remarks sent by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are being studied, with no pre-conditions that could undermine Kuwait’s sovereignty. PAYS will not spare the least effort to resolve the issue through the concerned international organizations, in line with the legal and constitutional frameworks, Al-Mansour stressed.
In the meantime, Al-Mansour expressed gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah for their support to Kuwaiti athletes. He also thanked the Cabinet for their confidence in PAYS, which will prompt it to carry on with hard work to combat whatever forms of deviation on the sports scene. The FIFA decision bans Kuwaiti national teams and clubs from international competitions.