Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Controversial Kuwait football official resigns from all FIFA positions

Controversial Kuwait football official resigns from all FIFA positions
May 1, 2017
Legal / Sport /

Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, long seen as one of the most powerful men in international sport, has resigned from all his football positions, including the Council of world football governing body FIFA, after a new wave of corruption allegations.

The release of US Court documents in the wake of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) official Richard Lai pleading guilty to bribery led to Shiekh Ahmad being implicated.

Sheikh Ahmad, member of Kuwait’s ruling family, was not named but papers referred to someone who at “various times was a high-ranking official of FIFA, the Kuwait Football Association and the Olympic Council of Asia”.

The Kuwaiti denies any wrongdoing but has released a statement announcing he is stepping down from his various positions within the sport.

The statement advised “with regards to alleged illegal payments to Richard Lai, I can only refer to my previous statement and vigorously deny any wrongdoing.

“I intend to work with all relevant authorities to disprove these for me totally surprising allegations.

“However, I do not want these allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming AFC and FIFA congresses. Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided it is in the best interests of Fifa and the AFC for me to withdraw my candidacy for the Fifa council and resign from my current football positions.”

In spite of resigning from his roles in football, Sheikh Ahmad remains influential in Olympic circles. He heads up the Olympic Council of Asia and has done so since 1991, while he was instrumental in Thomas Bach’s International Olympic Committee Presidential campaign and that of Gianni Infantino for the FIFA presidency.

Lai, a senior figure at the AFC, was suspended by FIFA for 90 days on Friday after he pleaded guilty in a New York court to giving and taking bribes. Lai admitted taking more than US$950,000 in bribes. The AFC also placed a provisional suspension on him.

Lai’s case is particularly significant as it represents the first time the US-led investigation into football-related corruption has extended beyond the Americas. It is also the US Department of Justice’s first new guilty plea for a year, which suggests the inquiry is not being wound down, as some close observers have speculated.

Commenting on Sheikh Ahmad’s resignation, Asian football commentator James M. Dorsey, author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, writes that the Kuwaiti’s “decision to resign and not to run for re-election at this month’s FIFA congress in Bahrain puts an end to his effort to exploit his international sports stature to further his political ambitions in a bitter power struggle within Kuwait’s ruling family.

“(His) position ... allowed him to persuade the International Olympic Committee, of which he is a member, as well as virtually all international sports associations to suspend Kuwaiti membership as part of the Kuwaiti politician’s bid for power.

“Ahmad has long used his position to put his own men in office.”

Dorsey added “men like SheikhAhmad and AFC President Sheik Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa symbolise the intertwining of sports and politics. They are imperious, ambitious, power hungry products of autocracies who have worked assiduously to concentrate power in their hands and sideline critics clamouring for real reform.

“Hailing from countries governed by autocratic, hereditary leaders, they have been accused of being willing to occupy their seats of power at whatever price.

“Ambition, alleged corruption, and greed is their potential Achilles heel. That is what caused the demise in 2012 of Mohammed Bin Hammam, (the) Qatari national who headed the AFC and was a member of FIFA’s governing council. Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA from involvement in football on charges of ‘conflict of interest.’

“As world sport reverberates from Sheikh Ahmad’s resignation and considers the Kuwaiti’s future as an international sports governor, it will also have to question the mechanisms that allow men like this to rise.

“That would have to involve questioning the viability of maintaining the fiction of a separation of sports and politics.”

Images (from top): Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, and Sheikh Ahmad (left) with AFC President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa (right).

3rd August 2016 - KUWAIT LOSES SWISS COURT CHALLENGE AGAINST IOC BAN 

5th November 2015 - AFC PRESIDENT’S FIFA PRESIDENTIAL BID MIRED IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

27th October 2015 - KUWAIT GETS IOC BAN FOR GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE

19th June 2015 - SOOSAY RESIGNS FROM ASIAN FOOTBALL CONFEDERATION

14th May 2015 - ASIAN FOOTBALL CONFEDERATION SUSPENDS GENERAL SECRETARY

1st May 2015 - AFC PRESIDENT’S RE-ELECTION MARRED BY RENEWED CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE QUESTIONS

18th April 2014 - SCANDAL-RIDDEN ASIAN FOOTBALL BODY STYMIES REFORM EFFORTS

3rd May 2013 - CONTROVERSIAL SHEIKH ELECTED NEW ASIAN FOOTBALL CONFEDERATION PRESIDENT


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Rae-Line

Sports Padding At Rae-Line we manufacture high quality sports padding, gym mats, foam mats and protective padding, suitable for a range of different facilities. Our sports padding is…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Sport

 
 

The Retention People Australia

TRP help health clubs, leisure centres and gyms across the globe create happy, loyal members through our user-friendly software which enables effective engagement and the delivery exceptional customer…

read more

Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

TECHNOGYM AUSTRALIA

Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Neptune Benson

Neptune Benson is a manufacturer of high quality water filtration and disinfection products for the recreational, industrial, and municipal water markets. With more than 20,000 installations…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation

 
 

TouchCloud Global

Activating skyscapes for tourism, art, leisure and living TouchCloud Global (TCg) is a highly specialised international consultancy, broker and principal, devoted solely to activating and energising…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Recreation / Safety / Tourism

 
 

SYNERGY FITNESS

The Calgym/Synergy group has had a long and proud history since 1976 as world leaders in the innovation, design and evolution of commercial strength and conditioning equipment. The Synergy group was…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

The Jump Pad

The Jump Pad is a safe, flat inflatable made in a variety of sizes which can be used indoor or outdoor. From 3mx3m up to a whopping 9mx21m. Markets include Indoor and outdoor playgrounds, schools,…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Play

 
 

GreeneDesk

Track. Engage. Retain GreeneDesk is a suite of cloud based software solutions helping health clubs, leisure centres and swim schools to effectively track progression, improve customer engagement and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Education / Fitness / Technology

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business