KUWAIT CITY, Aug 29, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has placed his personal weight as the top State leader behind national-level efforts aimed at rejuvenating the Kuwaiti sports and encouraging young athletes. As part of his keenness on the issue, His Highness the Amir on Monday received top officials of the two interim committees tasked with taking care of the affairs at the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) and the Kuwait Football Association (KFA).
His Highness the Amir encouraged the officials to exert utmost efforts to promote the sports and youth sector in Kuwait, and to bring those who break the law to justice. During the meetings attended by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, the newly-appointed offi- cials were also instructed to dedicate greater work to assist young athletes, offering them support to help them realize their aspirations.
Following the meetings, the officials entrusted with leading the sports scene over the coming months shared views on the significance of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s directives for supporting the Kuwaiti youth and promoting sports. They lauded His Highness the Amir’s backing to the efforts seeking to overcome the challenges facing the Kuwaiti sports at present.
His Highness the Amir’s recommendations to advance the Kuwaiti sports will function as a “cresset for our work over the coming period,” said chairman of the interim committee to run the Kuwait National Olympic Committee (NOC) Sheikh Fahad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah. Sheikh Fahad added that the efforts of the sincere Kuwaitis will enable the committee to forward the Kuwaiti sports.
The Kuwaiti flag will again flutter on the world’s sports arenas, he stressed. The Public Authority for Sports (PAS) has got a multitude of plans, views and programs likely to contribute to promoting the Kuwaiti sports, PAS Deputy Chairman Sulaiman Al-Adsani said.
The programs are to be implemented for the good of the Kuwaiti youth, he added. Kuwaitis, in all sports bodies, authorities and federations, will do their utmost to advance sports and back youth for the good of the nation, he added. For his part, chairman of the interim committee entrusted with managing the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) Fawaz Al-Hasawi voiced gratitude that His Highness the Amir received the sport officials earlier. He vowed that all of them would work hard so that the Kuwait sports, especially football, could restore its good old days.
Earlier, Al-Hasawi told KUNA that the focus during the next phase would be on developing local activities and handling all the flaws, as a first step to seek lifting the suspension imposed on the sector. An initial step will be scrapping the football league system currently in place and adopting the ‘in and out’ system in the premier league as of the next season consisting of premier and first.
“We will also work to implement privatization of the clubs,” a significant step on the way for lifting the suspension on Kuwaiti sports. Deputy KOC chairman Duaij Al- Otaibi said that the meeting with His Highness the Amir offered a good opportunity to listen to his directives and recommendations to promote the national sports. Al-Otaibi noted that all the sports officials are ready to support the athletes and youth, willing to offer proposals and ideas for the good of the sports sector.
Deputy head of the KFA interim committee Assad Haji Taqui said that the meeting with His Highness the Amir earlier Monday was a great honor. Taqui highlighted His Highness the Amir’s directives, and support to the sports officials to serve the Kuwaiti people.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti authorities ordered police to seize the country’s football association and Olympic committee offices, in the latest round of a sporting power struggle. The action on Sunday heightened a standoff that has seen Kuwait suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and world football’s governing body FIFA since October.
The country did not take part in this year’s Rio Olympics and will not contest the qualifiers for football’s 2018 World Cup. The move came after the government’s sports commission ousted Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah as head of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) and the national Olympic committee. Fawaz al-Hassawi, who was named as new head of the football association, is the owner of English Championship side Nottingham Forest.
Police seized the offices of the football association but failed to take over the Olympic committee headquarters. At a press conference after the football offices were seized, Hassawi promised increased prizes in the Kuwaiti championship.
However, the ousted head said authorities had used “threat and intimidation” in an official notice demanding that the KFA offices be handed over. The sheikh, in a statement released by KFA, said he had been accused of “financial violations”, over which he demanded an investigation by Kuwaiti prosecutors. The government action raised question marks over the “rule of institutions” in the country, he said, charging that it was a “personal” campaign. “They have to understand that what was taken by force from us today shall be taken back tomorrow by the rule of law and the justice of the cause and the support of the international and local Olympic movement.”
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday strongly condemned the Kuwait authorities for using police to seize the headquarters of two key sports bodies as part of a mounting power struggle. “The IOC strongly condemns these actions which, regrettably, continue to worsen the situation instead of helping to find solutions,” said a letter sent by the IOC after the police action. A copy of the letter, sent to Kuwait’s Youth and Information Minister Sheikh Salman Sabah al-Salem al-Homud al- Sabah, was obtained by AFP.
“The IOC will hold the government authorities responsible for any loss or damage to the KOC properties and assets, in particular those derived from IOC/ Olympic Movement funding,” the letter warned. A government sports commission headed by Sheikh Salman ordered the replacement of Sheikh Talal Fahad al-Sabah as head of the KOC and KFA. Sheikh Talal has said that “threat and intimidation” had been used against him. The IOC letter said the Olympic movement would not recognise any of the “the so-called ‘interim committee’ appointed by government authorities in place of the duly elected office-bearers”.
The Asian Football Confederation has also told its members not to cooperate with the new leadership of the KFA. The IOC said it was “still hoping that reason and common sense will prevail” in the standoff. “The IOC calls on the highest authorities of Kuwait to work constructively and responsibly on a solution … instead of taking actions which have no effect other than to make the situation worse,” said the letter.
The sports commission is headed by Youth and Information Minister Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homud Al- Sabah, who has sought greater control over Kuwait’s sports bodies. The IOC and FIFA suspended Kuwait last October over a law giving the government the right to intervene in sports bodies. A new law was passed in June but the IOC said this only increased government powers.
The IOC and FIFA maintain that Sheikh Sabah is the legitimate head of the two associations. Sheikh Sabah is a brother of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a member of the IOC executive and FIFA’s ruling council as well as president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
Announcing the dissolution of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) and the Olympic Committee (KOC), the Public Authority for Sports (PAS) has appointed two committees to take the helm at both bodies. The two interim bodies comprise a host of competent and adept members, not only in sports but also in administration, economy and planning, with women and people with special needs represented.
The committee to take care of the affairs at the Kuwait Olympic Committee for six months is chaired by Sheikh Fahd Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah, Eng Duaij Al-Otaibi as deputy chairman and Yusuf Al-Huseini as Secretary. The members include Jassim Yaqoub Mohammad Al-Yaqoub, Khalid Al- Menaye’a, Rihab Mohmmad Sultan Bouresli, Dr Suleiman Al-Abduljader, AbdulRedha Al-Gharib, Ghazi Al-Hajri, Fatema Hayat and Sheikh Fawaz Meshaal Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah. Sheikh Fahd Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah is the head of the West Asian Triathlon Confederation; deputy head of the Arab Triathlon Confederation (ATC); a former deputy chair of the International Weightlifting Federation for two terms; a member of the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee for three terms, and Chairman of the Kuwaiti Boxing and Weightlifting Federation.
Sheikh Fahd’s deputy, Eng. Duaij Al- Otaibi, is the current head of the Arab and Kuwait Shooting Federations, in addition to the Kuwaiti Shooting Club. With a degree in aviation engineering, and a membership of the British Royal Aeronautical Society since 2002, Al-Otaibi has also been head of the Saad Al-Abdallah Olympic Shooting Academy and the Kuwaiti shooting school since 2011. He has also been a member in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) since 2010, and the International Sport Federation since 2014.
The committee’s Secretary Yusuf Al- Huseini is a legal consultant at the PAS’ director general’s office, and a senior solicitor. He holds an M.A in Special Law from Egypt’s Ain Shams University and is now working on his PhD. Committee members include Jassim Yaqoub Mohammad Al-Yaqoub who is a retired Colonel since 2006, and is now head of the monitoring office of the MIM- 104 Patriot System in the United States (1997-2000). He played for Al-Nasr Sports Club (1973-1981).
Khalid Al-Menaye’a leads specialized companies in fields like real estate, clubs, and spas, with a long experience in planning and organizing sports, cultural and social events, as well as designing technical and administrative rules and regulations for promoting sports activities. Rihab Mohmmad Sultan Bouresli has a BA in political sciences and economics from Kuwait University. She was an economic researcher at the Kuwait Municipality and later a senior consultant for administrative development (1986- 2011). She has also been a member of the higher council of the Disabled Affairs (2014-present) and Deputy Director General of the Gulf Disability Society (GDS).
She represented Kuwait during three sessions (2007-present). Dr Sulaiman Sl-Abduljader has a PhD in financial economics and is a member in the sports privatization and development team in the Public Authority for Sports. He is also a professor at Gulf University for Science and Technology, and headed the board of directors of a real estate company, and share management of other companies. AbdulRedha Al-Ghareeb has a Master’s degree in Physical Education from the United States. He held a number of positions at Kuwait University, and also worked as a lecturer at the College of Basic Education.
He is the General-Secretary of the Kuwait Tennis Union since 1984 till now, and the head of the organizing committee for Tennis in GCC, and member of the development committee at the Asian Tennis Union. He also founded tennis game in the Yarmouk Club in 1984. Ghazi Al-Hajeri is founder of a company specializing in the field of youth and sports entertainment, which is a practical program that connects youth with sports facilities.
Fatima Hayat was secretary of the women football committee at the KFA, and enjoys a long experience in promoting society and youth as well as building personal capabilities and skills. Sheikh Fawaz Meshaal Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah is director of the external relations, and acting director of the information and security follow-up sector at the National Security Apparatus.
He owns a long experience in the security educational and youth planning, and strategies of electronic security. As for the committee entrusted with managing the affairs of the KFA, also for six months, it is chaired by Fawaz Mubarak Abdulaziz Al-Hassawi, with Assad Haji Taqui as deputy chairman, and Hussein Ali Ahmad Al-Khudari, Khalid Al-Fadhli, Saad Al-Houti, Dr Sabah Abdullah Al-Otaibi and Salah Jassim Al-Hassawi as members. Fawaz Mubarak Abdulaziz Al-Hassawi, being Director and shareholder of the Kuwait Commercial Real Estate Center Company, he played for Qadsiya SC (1980-1986) and then in the club’s board of directors (1997-2012). Now he is Deputy Chairman of Qadsiya Sports Club, and the owner and chairman of Nottingham Forest Football Club.