ZURICH: FIFA has lifted its suspension of Kuwait after parliament voted in a new sports law superseding the original legislation which had turned it into an international sports pariah writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The lifting of the ban throws down a challenge in the Middle East for several nations in the Gulf Cup which is being staged later this month in Qatar amid the political and economic stand-off with neighbouring Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

A statement from the world football federation announced that the two-year ban had been lifted by order of its bureau which comprises president Gianni Infantino plus the presidents of the six regional confederations.

FIFA said this had been in response to “confirmation that the Kuwait Parliament has adopted a new Sports Law of Kuwait, which replaces all the previous ones and has been amended in order to be fully compliant with the FIFA statutes and requirements.”

The International Olympic Committee is expected to follow suit over its own ban on Kuwait. This will help regularise the position of Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah who had been in dispute with other governing members of the ruling royal family of Kuwait.

Enrolled Gulf Cup participants at the moment are Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Yemen.

Politicians from Saudi Arabia and the UAE had hoped that the ban on Kuwait would render the tournament impossible. To this extent, FIFA’s decision is a victory not only for Kuwait but for Qatar – host of the 2022 World Cup finals.

The problems with Kuwait across the sporting arena exploded after a row over elections to the presidency of the international shooting federation.