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Info Minister to hold talks with IOC on Kuwait sports

Sheikh-Salman-Sabah-Salem-Al-Humoud-Al-SabahKUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, who has arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland, will hold talks with officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the sports situation in Kuwait today.

The discussions are expected to focus on FIFA’ warning to suspend national sports, namely the most popular game, football, due to what FIFA says are some legal and administrative irregularities in the sector, such as politicians’ meddling in sports.
Minister Sheikh Salman vowed to clarify to the international officials the sports’ status in Kuwait, with emphasis that the national rules neither contravene with the Olympic Charter, nor with relevant international regulations. He will affirm that all Kuwaiti sports authorities enjoy full administrative and technical independence.

Sheikh Salman stated that the State of Kuwait attaches much attention to sports and youth just out of its commitment to the constitution and in line with His Highness the Amir’s directives, while providing financial and logistic backing to sports authorities, chiefly the Kuwait Olympic Committee.

Simultaneously, a joint delegation grouping MPs of the National Assembly (Parliament) and officials of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) has also travelled to Switzerland to express identical views in defense of Kuwait’s stance on the issue.

Chairman of the parliamentary youth affairs committee MP Abdullah Al-Maiouf said the legislators and PAYS official would seek to persuade FIFA that the local sports laws do not run counter with the Olympic Charter, and that the envoys would affirm that there was no “political meddling in the Kuwaiti sports affairs.

“We will prove with evidences that laws issued by the Parliament as representative of the people do not contravene with international principles and covenants.”

However, Al-Maiouf said in case FIFA insisted on maintaining its stance, Kuwait would request clarification of its rules and regulations that are referred to for suspending the sports in Kuwait, and would even ask FIFA about the Kuwaiti laws it considers as not in harmony with the Olympic Charter.

He added Kuwait would ask for a detailed, written and official report as to the domestic laws that FIFA believes they should be modified “for sake of pinpointing the flaws, if they exist, and casting away, for good, the prospect of suspending the sports in Kuwait.”

Such legal amendments would warrant sufficient period of time for discussing and examining them, as well as referring them to the National Assembly for endorsement, MP Al-Maiouf explained, expressing optimism that the meeting with the FIFA would end with a decision to “spare the Kuwaiti sports the risk of suspension.”

The national sports clubs have largely spoken an identical language. Nine Kuwaiti clubs, out of the country’s 15 ones, at a meeting last week, affirmed respect and support for the local sovereign laws, which essentially stipulate the State’s non-interference in the affairs of the sports clubs, respect for the Olympic Charter and covenants of the international federations.

The officials emphasized that there has been no government interference, whatsoever, that may impede the Kuwaiti sports, noting that without the material and moralistic support given by the Government and PAYS, the national clubs and sports federation would not have been able to function.

FIFA, on September 24th, warned the Kuwaiti Football Association that it would slap a ban on the country’s participation in international soccer events as of October 15, unless Kuwait amended the local sports laws and rendered them compatible with international regulations.

Many Kuwaitis practice some kind of sports or exercise and soccer, in particular, is very popular in the country. Kuwaitis follow up not only on local and regional soccer events and games, but international and European matches and tournaments, as well.

The national soccer team joined the world cup in 1982 after winning the Asian AFC cup in 1980. Kuwait had also been crowned as the Gulf champion several times. The State strategy for the youth, partially, stipulates special concern and attention to boosting sports. It has built many sports facilities in the residential districts to encourage the citizens to exercise. –KUNA

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