KUWAIT: The position and status of FIFA exco member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah will not be affected by the suspension of his home country, Kuwait, from the international game by the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
One immediate effect of the order, issued on Friday, was the removal from the Asian Cup – the continent’s No2 tournament – of two Kuwait clubs from the competition’s semi-finals.
Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim will now face Tajikistan’s Istiklol in the final after the expulsions of title-holders Al Qadsia and Al Kuwait. Al Qadisa had beaten JDT 3-1 in last month’s first leg last month while Al Kuwait had thrashed Istiklol 4-0.
A statement from the AFC said: “Following the decision by FIFA to suspend the Kuwait Football Association and its members from all football activities, Kuwait SC and Qadsia SC are no longer eligible to compete in the AFC Cup semi-finals.”
The continuance of Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers is also in doubt unless the crisis over political interference can be resolved quickly. Kuwait are second in Group G of their joint 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifying competition but are not due to play again until November 17 in Myanmar.
The latest turn of events is an embarrassment for Sheikh Ahmad, the Olympic powerbroker who was voted on to the FIFA executive committee in May. However a FIFA spokesperson confirmed it does not affect his status or bis ability to vote in Tuesday’s important exco gathering.
The emergency meeting has been summoned in the wake of the provisional 90-day suspensions imposed on presidents Sepp Blatter of FIFA and Michel Platini of UEFA by the world governing body’s ethics committee over financial mismanagement allegations.
Kuwait was suspended afer failing to react to a warning from the FIFA exco meeting of September 24-25 that changes to a proposed new ‘sports law’ were essential to exclude the possibility of direct political interference.
Both FIFA and the International Olympic Committee believe the new law threatens the autonomy of the KFA, the Kuwait Olympic Committee and all its other national sports federations. Kuwait has been suspended twice before by FIFA, in 2008 and 2009.
Sheikh Ahmad, apart from being a member of the FIFA exco and its resurrected reform committee, is president of the Olympic Council of Asia, the Association of National Olympic Committees and of Olympic Solidarity.
He would be expected to play an important role behind the scenes if Sheikh Sakman bin Ebrahim Al Khakifa, the AFC president, decides to run for the FIFA leadership at next February’s election.
Sheikh Salman is widely expected to announce his prospective candidacy within the next week after taking soundings among FIFA exco colleagues on Tuesday and following the troubles besetting Platini.
The Frenchman had been original favourite to succeed Blatter until both men fell foul of an investigation by the Swiss authorities and then the FIFA ethics committee.