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Monday , January 18 2021

‘Kuwait to sue IOC for $1 billion’ – Rio unlikely

KUWAIT CITY, June 23, (Agencies): Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said the State of Kuwait is taking the International Olympic Committee to the Swiss courts for damages amounting to one billion as US dollars a result of the IOC unjustifiable decision to suspend Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC).

“It’s totally unacceptable that Kuwait is treated with this unfair way and is barred from international sports activities without conducting an appropriate probe,” the minister said in reference to the decision made by the IOC Executive Board (EB) in late October 2015.

Sheikh Salman made the press remarks on the sidelines of a “Ghabqa” (Ramadan dinner banquet) held at the Public Authority for Sports Affaris on Wednesday night. “From the very beginning, Kuwait did its utmost to prevent the IOC’s EB decision and showed a sincere desire to cooperate, but all to no avail. We sent a UN-sponsored delegation to Geneva to explain to the world sports body that the Kuwaiti government intervenes by no means in the sports activities.

“However, we were put in an embarrassing situation in the eyes of the international sports circles and looked as if we were outlaws,” he complained. Regarding the stances of KOC and Kuwait Football Association (KFA) towards the decision, Sheikh Salman regretted that the two bodies “called for the suspension and were happy with it.” “It is strange that the KOC and KFA officials, who rose to eminence only through the support of the Kuwaiti government and who are supposed to represent us, revealed documents only after the IOC EB made their decision,” he wondered.

The minister expressed hope that the amendments, recently introduced by National Assembly to the sports laws, will prepare the ground for creating common vision for the development of the sports activities in a more orderly way.

The complaints from inside Kuwait led to unprecedented and unfair decisions by the international sports bodies without any respect for the status of Kuwait, he added. Sheikh Salman reaffirmed that the Kuwaiti sports regulations ban any government interventions in the administrative and technical affairs of the local sports bodies.

“There is only positive intervention in the form of support and backing for the sports bodies meant to promote the Olympic movement,” he made it clear. “Looking ahead, we stress the need for a common stance and cooperation involving all concerned parties without excluding anybody.

All of us have to put the interests of Kuwait above any other considerations, spare no effort to promote sports and bring back the youth to the international sports events,” he concluded.

This new lawsuit will further widen the rift between the Kuwait government and the IOC, making lifting the suspension before the Rio games even less likely. In a meeting earlier this month, the IOC’s executive board authorized Kuwaiti athletes to compete as individuals under the Olympic flag if they qualify.

In his comments carried Thursday, Sheikh Salman called the IOC decisions “totally unacceptable.”

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