ATR First: Kuwait NOC Suspension a 'Long-Term Problem'

(ATR) IOC deputy director general Pere Miro is not optimistic the Kuwait government's interference with NOC will end soon.

Kuwait's flagbearer Fehaid Aldeehani (C) leads his delegation during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.    AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)
Kuwait's flagbearer Fehaid Aldeehani (C) leads his delegation during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GettyImages)

(ATR) International Olympic Committee deputy director general Pere Miro is not optimistic the Kuwait government's interference with the National Olympic Committee will end anytime soon.

Kuwait is currently the only NOC suspended by the IOC.

Miro, an assistant and adviser to IOC chief Thomas Bach and director general Christophe De Kepper, tells Around the Rings in an exclusive interview that "the Kuwaiti NOC is still suspended, due to government interference, and the outlook is that we have long-term problems".

According to the Arab Times of Kuwait, Miro set out three conditions in response to the letter from the country's Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Khaled Al-Roudhan, requesting a meeting in Lausanne to discuss the suspension.

According to the newspaper, Miro reported that the current laws in Kuwait should be modified in tune with the Olympic Charter and the demands on the Olympic Committee of Kuwait be revoked. Miro says that all legal cases underway inside and outside Kuwait against the IOC and other international sports organizations should also be withdrawn.

Kuwait has requested the IOC pay $1 billion in damages for banning the country from participating in international competitions.

Miro, the IOC’s liaison for NOC relations, says it is vital that Kuwait’s elected sports officials be allowed to govern their respective organizations.

"It is a question of the Kuwaiti authorities agreeing to return duties to the leaders of the NOC and of several NFs who were democratically elected, which were revoked by decree of the government," he says.

As for the litigation, he added: "So far, the Kuwaiti authorities have used various third parties to challenge the IOC against the suspension decision, having lost all cases so far, including the $1 billion claim."

The situation with the NOC of Kuwait is not new. At the beginning of 2010, the IOC imposed a sanction on its government for legislation that allowed the state to interfere in the elections of sports organizations. Consequently, Kuwait could not receive funds from the IOC and its athletes and officials were banned from the Olympic Games and IOC meetings.

At the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Kuwaiti athletes competed as independent athletes under the Olympic flag. On July 14, 2012, the suspension was lifted and Kuwait athletes were allowed to participate in the London 2012 Summer Games under their own flag.

On Oct. 27, 2015, the KOC was suspended again for further government interference and as a result, its athletes once again competed as independent Olympic athletes at the Rio 2016 Games.

In contrast, Miro praised the solution to the pending problem of another National Olympic Committee, Peru, whose elections in June "were duly legitimized by the IOC".

Miro hopes that the election of new president Pedro del Rosario will allow the COP to successfully fulfill its responsibilities in organizing the forthcoming IOC Session in Lima in September and the Pan American Games in 2019.

Written by Miguel Hernandez and translated by Kevin Nutley.

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