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Kuwait hopeful that sporting bans will be lifted ahead of Olympics
May 19, 2016, 12:05 pm

Kuwait, which has banned from international football matches and the Olympic Games twice, is hoping that suspensions will be lifted soon and the nation will be able to participate in global sporting events, a senior official has said.

“Our doors are open (for talks with the concerned international bodies) and we will not sit idle,” Deputy Director General of the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Youth and Sport, Hamoud Al Fleiteh, told Gulf News.

“We are full of hope that the bans will be lifted. If it wasn’t for the hope, we would not have spent money on training our athletes and preparing them in fencing and archery, ” Al Fleiteh added as the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil approaches this summer.

Last year, Kuwait was suspended for the second time in five years over government interference in the country's Games committee. As a result of the ban, Kuwaiti teams can’t participate in international competitions, while associations and members are barred from receiving any FIFA development assistance.

The decision was taken after Kuwait failed to amend its disputed sports legislation by the October 27 2015 deadline set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), due to political interference, which left its athletes in limbo for 2016’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

FIFA suspended Kuwait's soccer association over the same issue two weeks before that.

The Gulf state was suspended by IOC back in 2010, also in a dispute over government interference.

“The suspension will be lifted only when the Kuwait Football Association and its members are able to carry out their activities and obligations independently,” FIFA had said in a statement.

Al Fleiteh, however, denied the accusations of Kuwaiti government interference in sports. “We don’t intend to exclude individuals. We have confidence in ourselves and we realise that sport bodies are developed through laws and systems rather than through individuals,” he said.

He said he had learnt from the media, “but nothing official”, that among the recommendations from the Mexico meeting was forming a committee to hold talks with Kuwait over the ban.

While “our doors are open, we as a country, we will not sit nonchalantly.”

“Our concern is the Kuwaiti sport as a whole and not just the football teams,” said the Kuwaiti official at the Public Authority for Youth and Sport.

When asked about the possibility of sending a Kuwaiti team to meet with the Olympic committee, Al Fleiteh answered: “We had held talks with them, and we have not closed the door in the face of holding more talks with them.”

Source: Arabian Business

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