Kuwait amends sports law after IOC ban threat

Gulf state has assured its athletes they will be able to compete under national flag

Kuwait has amended its sports law following threats from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it will suspend the country over inference from government authorities in the Olympic movement. 

The Gulf state gave no details of the changes but Olympic committee chairman Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah reassured athletes that they would now be able to compete under the national flag, official state news agency said.

A proposal to re-apply for the suspension of the Kuwait Olympic Committee is due to be presented to the IOC Executive Board at a meeting in Lausanne next month, IOC officials said last week.

Suspension would cut off IOC funding to the committees and prevent their athletes from competing in the Olympics under their national flags.

Olympic authorities in 2010 suspended the oil-rich country after it failed to amend government legislation that permits officials to interfere in the elections of sporting organisations.

The suspension was lifted in July based on guarantees to pass new sports legislation that would put an end to governmental interference in the Olympic Movement in Kuwait.

At London 2012, Kuwait won one bronze medal, tying it 79th in the final medal table. Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid Al-Deehani won the medal in the Men’s Trap Shooting competition.

“The deadline to implement the promises was set for November 22, but the IOC regrets to note that the commitments have not been fulfilled,” the IOC said in a statement last week. 

“The suspension of the National Olympic Committee would serve as a protective measure by the IOC to preserve the autonomy of the NOC and the Olympic Movement in Kuwait,” it added.

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