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Suspended Kuwait seeks $1 bn in damages from IOC

kuwait

KUWAIT CITY:  Kuwait has filed suit in a Swiss court seeking $1 billion in damages from the International Olympic Committee over its suspension from competition, its youth and information minister said.

The IOC and world football governing body FIFA suspended Kuwait in October over laws that allow government interference in sports.

Sheikh Salman al-Humoud Al-Sabah said that the suspension, which threatens to exclude Kuwaiti athletes from the Olympics in Rio in August, was “unjustifiable” and imposed without proper investigation.

“It’s totally unacceptable that Kuwait is treated in this unfair way and barred from international sports activities without any appropriate probe being conducted,” the official KUNA news agency quoted the minister as saying late on Wednesday.

The minister did not give further details of the lawsuit but the IOC is headquartered in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Apart from the IOC and FIFA, 16 other international sporting federations have also blacklisted Kuwait.

In January, the Kuwaiti government filed suit in a domestic court seeking damages of $1.3 billion from 15 Kuwaiti sports officials it alleged had actively sought the suspensions.

They included Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, who heads the Olympic Council of Asia and is a top IOC official as well as a member of the FIFA executive committee.

The youth minister renewed those allegations on Wednesday, charging that officials who were supposed to represent Kuwait had been “happy” about the country’s suspension.

The Kuwaiti parliament approved sweeping changes to sports laws on Monday but MPs said the amendments did not go far enough to end the country’s suspension.

It is the third time since 2007 that FIFA and the IOC have suspended Kuwait for alleged government interference.

 

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