KUWAIT CITY, Nov 4: The Parliament on Wednesday discussed the current situation of the local sports sector and factors behind the decision of the International Olympic Committee (OIC) to suspend Kuwait’s participation in global sports events. During the session, Minister of Information and Sports Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Mamoud Al-Sabah read a statement on the sports activities in Kuwait since the issuance of the Constitution, stressing that the State does not interfere in the affairs of sports bodies and institutions.
He said the complaints presented at home and abroad led to the indefinite suspension of some sports activities. He clarified that what happened in Lausanne does not reflect the status of Kuwait, asserting “we support the international conventions and we are keen on participating in them.” He disclosed the Lausanne meeting was aimed at signing pledges for a foreign organization to be familiarized on Kuwait laws to prevent suspension of Kuwaiti sports.
“This has prompted me to apologize for not continuing with the meeting. I confirmed that Kuwait does not allow anyone to impose on it and I pointed out then that we explained everything, but there seems to be a prior decision to terminate the Kuwaiti sports,” he added.
According to Sheikh Salman, after the meeting, it was mentioned on the OIC website that Kuwait has agreed on the terms of the committee. “This is not true. Why do they want to compel us to do something which they have not imposed on the rest of the world? Why do they want to impose the Cup Court, considering there are no suspicions in the Kuwaiti legislation and the country does not interfere in the affairs of sports authorities?” he wondered.
He also presented documents confirming that the problem of Kuwait is due to the conflict between its Olympic body and its government. He stressed the main reason, as quoted by the Olympic Committee, is the complaint from Kuwait regarding the government’s conflict with sports bodies to make the legislation independent. He asserted the principle of the Olympic movement calls for respect for the sovereignty of nations. Addressing Kuwaitis who occupy international sports positions, Sheikh Salman asked, “Do you think you will serve Kuwaiti sports by stopping Kuwait’s sports activities?” He asked the leaders in international organizations, “Do you think the decision to stop sports activities will serve the interests of athletes and the sports sector in Kuwait?” He added, “Regrettably, some of those who sought to stop Kuwaiti sports are people of Kuwait. The State, represented by the government, will take legal action to develop the local sports sector.”
Meanwhile, head of the Sports Authority Sheikh Ahmed Al-Mansour said the Kuwaiti government spent KD 400 million on sports within four years yet Kuwait’s current rank in football is 128th internationally compared to 17th in the seventies. MP Rakan Al-Nisf pointed out the ranking of Kuwait, according to FIFA, is 128th internationally, while Palestine and Syria are in a better position. He added Kuwait is now at the same level with Afghanistan despite the ongoing war in that country.
He said, “The sports gang destroyed our sports sector. The government will hold two meetings with the Parliament to discuss the sports situation and this is a golden opportunity to correct the sports laws but we don’t know where the government stands.” MP Saleh Ashour claimed the members of this Parliament ratified the sports laws yet they don’t know what is basketball or handball. “Resolving the sports issue should not be done in an emotional or reckless manner. We must maintain Kuwait’s position in the international sports arena. We should not lose them because of the stubbornness of a Sheikh or an official. What is happening is just a form of revenge among certain parties,” he lamented.
He thinks the trip made by the minister and his accompanying delegation to Lausanne is not a solution because the problem is internal. He said, “The sports problem has become a political issue; hence, allowing politicians to solve it will only make matters worse.” At the end of the discussion, the Parliament presented recommendations to address the sports crisis but there was no quorum, so Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanem decided to postpone voting on these recommendations until the next session slated for Nov 17.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff