IOC lifts suspension on Kuwaiti Olympic body imposed in 2015

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC says it has fully lifted a suspension from Kuwait’s Olympic committee, imposed in 2015 when the national government passed a law that compromised the independence of sports bodies.

The suspension meant Kuwaitis at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics competed as an “Independent Olympic Athlete” without their national flag and anthem.

The IOC partially lifted the ban last year ahead of the Asian Games and Buenos Aires Youth Olympics, while awaiting new sports elections and a government promise not to interfere in Kuwait’s Olympic business.

Last weekend, the Kuwait Olympic Committee elected younger leaders and noted its “desire to usher in a new generation.”

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The KOC’s secretary general is Husain al Musallam, a vice president of swimming governing body FINA and long-time aide to Olympic power broker Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad al Sabah.

Sheikh Ahmad has suspended himself from IOC work pending his trial in Geneva in a forgery case. He denies wrongdoing.

The sheikh and al Musallam were identified in a U.S. federal court in 2017 as unindicted co-conspirators in a bribery case. A FIFA audit committee member from Guam pleaded guilty to taking payments from Kuwaiti officials seeking influence in soccer elections.

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