KUWAIT CITY: The Kuwait Football Association, in a statement confirming its nomination of Sheikh Ahmad for a place on the FIFA executive committee, has described him – intriguingly for observers of Asian football politics – as posessing an “unrivalled understanding of football – and sport generally – in Asia and across the world .”
The KFA statement reads as follows:
The Kuwait Football Association (KFA) has today announced that it has nominated Honorary KFA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as a candidate for one of three positions for Asian representatives on the FIFA Executive Committee for a two year period between 2015 and 2017.
The independently governed body has selected Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah based on his unrivalled understanding of Asian sport administration and his commitment to using sport to unite the region and promote equality and good governance. [He] will join a list of candidates for election at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Assembly in Bahrain in April 2015.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has had a strong connection with football from an early age having played at club level with Al Qadisia and then Al Arabi during his childhood.
In 1990 he was elected as President of the KFA and oversaw a significant period of evolution in Kuwaiti football.
During his 13 years in charge, the Kuwait national football team qualified for both the Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and twice won the Gulf Cup of Nations.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has maintained a close interest and involvement in Asian football since becoming KFA honorary president and has always been an ardent supporter of bringing major competitions to the region including the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
KFA secretary-general Mr Sahoo Al Sahoo said: “We strongly believe that there is no better candidate to represent Asia on the FIFA Executive Committee than Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad AlSabah. He has an unrivalled understanding of football – and sport generally – in Asia and across the world through his positions at the highest level of sport administration.
“He has been at the forefront of the region’s rise in prominence on the international stage which has seen the world’s biggest sporting properties being awarded to Asia.
“Throughout his career he has championed sport as a vehicle for fairness, equality and respect and has led the way in Asian sport in the fight against racism and corruption. We have no doubt that he will make an excellent contribution to the development of football in Asia.”
Outside of football, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has served as the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) since 1991 and was elected as an IOC member the following year.
As president of the OCA he has played a pivotal role in developing sport in Asia and strengthening the continent’s position on the international sporting stage with Asia set to host three consecutive Olympic Games after Rio 2016.
In 2012 Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was elected as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and instantly set about implementing a process of reform and modernisation.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said: “It is a great honour to have been put forward for this highly prestigious position. Having been the OCA president for many years before becoming ANOC president, I understand the importance when transitioning into a global position of recognising and embracing different cultures for the benefit of all regions worldwide.
“I strongly believe in the power of sport to break down social barriers, foster greater gender and racial equality and unite the world for a better future. Football as the sport with the greatest reach in the world has limitless potential to promote these values and bring about social change.
“For Asian football one of the highest priorities is to ensure that Qatar hosts the best possible FIFA World Cup in 2022.
“As the first FIFA World Cup hosted in the region I have no doubt that it will have a very strong legacy impact across Asia and the Middle East inspiring millions of young people to engage in sport.”