LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee has confirmed what Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah meant when he decided to step aside from his roles while subject to an ethics investigation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Sheikh Ahmad, one of the most influential figures in world sport, has been charged in Switzerland with forgery and other offences in connection with a long-running wrangle sparked by internecine warfare within the ruling Kuwait royal family.

He has been ‘invited’ to appear before the ethics committee on January 11.

Pressure had grown on the IOC because of the elections due within the Association of National Olympic Committees at which Sheikh Ahmad had intended to seek re-election as president. That had become impossible s ANOC sidestepped the issue by postponing the vote.

Sheikh Ahmad’s difficulties do not immediately affect his power and influence but may be viewed as a weakening of his authority which could ultimately lead to a major power battle within both Asian sport and even the IOC where he has always a strong supporter of president Thomas Bach.

Sheikh Ahmad, a former head of the OPEC oil cartel, also faces exposure to a federal investigation in the United States linked to bribery in international football. He resigned from the FIFA Council days after being identified in April 2017 as ‘co-conspirator 2’ in federal court documents in Brooklyn.

Richard Lai, aA former FIFA audit committee member from Guam pleaded guilty to financial wrongdoing linked to payments from the Olympic Council of Asia, and said he believed the OCA president was the source of the bribes.

Sheikh Ahmad has denied all wrongdoing.

The IOC statement said:

The IOC Executive Board (EB) in a meeting by telephone conference today took the following decisions:

  1. To take note of and confirm the report and recommendations of the IOC Ethics Commission regarding the situation of IOC Member and ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (see annex, 22 November 2018).
  2. To take note of the decision by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah to temporarily suspend himself from all his rights prerogatives and functions linked to his quality as IOC Member and Chair of the Olympic Solidarity Commission (see annex, letter 18 November 2018).
  3. To take note of the decision by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah to temporarily suspend himself from his role and responsibilities within the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). This decision will become effective on 28 November 2018 in the morning after the needed procedural matters related to the 2018 ANOC General Assembly in Tokyo/Japan (see annex, letter 26 November 2018).

The IOC EB emphasises that the presumption of innocence prevails and recognises that Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has taken the correct course of action with regard to the Olympic Movement.