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How can an individual with no official status cause a great political and sporting dilemma to his country? It seems strange, but look at the following details.
The Public Benefit Organization Law stipulates that the establishment of any sports or social union requires the recognition of at least six recognized official associations or bodies. As there are only three bodies concerned with the equestrian sports – the police, the army and the Hunting and Equestrian Club – no law provides that the Club is the sole responsible body for equestrian sports inside and outside Kuwait or claim membership of the Arab Equestrian Federation.
The Secretary-General of the Arab Equestrian Federation suddenly died and his position became vacant. The Kuwaiti Equestrian Federation, on the sidelines of the last equestrian championship held in Beirut, nominated Abdulhamid Dashti as Secretary General of the Arab Equestrian Federation.
The delegation of the Kuwaiti Hunting and Equestrian Club, which participated in the meetings of the General Assembly of the Arab Equestrian Federation, rejected the election of Dashti as Secretary-General, as he was not nominated by the club, but by the Kuwaiti Equestrian Federation, which has no presence in Kuwait. However, the Arab Federation rejected Kuwait’s protest and approved the selection of Dashti to take up the vacant post.
The General Assembly also approved holding the Arab Equestrian Championship next year in Kuwait. The representative of the Kuwaiti Hunting and Equestrian Club withdrew, rejecting the decision to hold the tournament on Kuwaiti soil.
In his unofficial visit to Kuwait, Shaeel Al-Kuwari, President of the Arab Equestrian Federation, in a statement to the press about the circumstances of the nomination and selection of Abdulhamid Dashti as Secretary General defended the decision.
He also refused to accept Kuwait’s apology for the organization of the sixth Arab Equestrian Championship and gave it time to approve the championship. If it apologizes, the Arab Federation will have to impose financial sanctions against Kuwait and inform the Asian Equestrian Union and the International Federation and circulate the decision to all International Olympic Committees and this will deprive Kuwait from participating in civil and military championships.
The statements by Al-Kuwari did not please the officials of the Hunting and Equestrian Club, and they criticized his position and his press statements as a way to respond to their official correspondence with him.
They also pointed out the contradiction between accepting the nomination of the Secretary-General by the Kuwaiti Equestrian Federation on the one hand and holding the Hunting and Equestrian Club responsible for holding the sixth championship on the other.
Here, Kuwait found itself in a dilemma and it was too difficult to imagine how to find a way out without causing harm to the reputation of the country in the Arab and international sports forums.
The great achievements of Jameela and Nadia Al-Mutawa and other heroes, especially in the last Asian Championship will be lost because of personal grudges and disputes of some and the price shall be paid by Kuwait.
Here we request to stop this absurdity. It is regrettable that the president of the Arab Federation threatens Kuwait, imposes financial fines and harms its reputation in international forums, threatens to expel it from the Federation, and deprives its popular and military teams from participating in international competitions.
All this happens while the citizen Abdulhamid Dashti insists to be Secretary-General of the Arab Equestrian Federation and his commitment to silence and gloating as if the country at stake is not his homeland.
NB: This article was written twenty years ago and the abusive attitudes of this citizen to his homeland continue.
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By Ahmad Al Sarraf