Kuwait sues sports chiefs over international suspension


Kuwait City (AFP)

Kuwait's government has sued top sports executives in the country, including two prominent royals, accusing them of deliberately causing the suspension of the Gulf state from international sports.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the government's legal department against Kuwait Olympic Committee head Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah and 14 other board members including his elder brother Sheikh Ahmad, one of the most powerful figures in football and the olympics.

The lawsuit blames the board members for causing Kuwait's suspension by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by informing the two bodies that Kuwaiti laws allow government interference in sports.

The government is demanding temporary damages of $16,500, which if granted by the court will allow authorities to seek greater damages of $1.3 billion, according to Al-Rai newspaper.

The government says in the lawsuit that it has spent more than $1.3 billion on local sports in the past five years.

FIFA and the IOC both suspended Kuwait in October because of alleged government interference in the Gulf state's sport.

The Kuwaiti government has repeatedly said the country's laws are in line with international sports charters.

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

If the suspension remains, it will prevent Kuwait qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Sheikh Ahmad, a member of the FIFA executive committee and the IOC, is fighting an appeal against a six-month jail term for insulting the judiciary.

Sheikh Ahmad and his brother are nephews of Kuwait's ruler Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.