KUWAIT: Prospects of Kuwait being allowed to vote in the reform and presidential ballots at FIFA Congress next Friday are fading writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The world football federation always works hard to try to resolve issues within recalcitrant national associations ahead of a congress so that they can vote on crucial issues affecting the future of the organisation and the game.
Hence the inclusion in the agenda for the executive committee, two days before Congress, concerns the current state of eloigibility of Honduras, MAldives, Thailand, Benin and Guatemala.
However, not included in the meeting agenda is any consideration of crisis concerning Kuwait which has been suspended by both FIFA and the International Olympic Committee over a new sports law deemed to bring political interference to bear, contrary to the statues of both international bodies.
This suggests that the maximum voting potential at FIFA Congress will be 208 at most, rather than the full complement of 209.
Kuwait would be expected to vote, in the presidential election, for the Bahiraini president of the Asian confederation, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. He is a long-time close associate of Kuwait sports power-broker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
Four of Kuwait’s 1982 World Cup players have been touring the Gulf region lobbying football leaders in an attempt to have the suspension lifted.
The delegation has been led by Kuwaiti MP Abdullah al-Maayouf, who played for the country at their only World Cup finals in Spain in 1982, and has included former team-mates Saad al-Houthi, Mohammed Karam and Naeem Saad.
They have pleaded their case with senior football officials from Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The Kuwaiti suspension does not affect the individual role of Sheikh Ahmad who, apart from holding several senior roles in the Olympic movement, is also a member of the FIFA exco and was on the reform committee.