(ATR) The president of the Association of National Olympic Committees has made the organization a stronger voice in the Olympic Movement.
Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah is headed into his fourth year as ANOC president and president of Olympic Solidarity, distributing about $500 million to NOCs every four years.
For 2017, Ahmad will undoubtedly have a behind the scenes role among his fellow IOC members determining the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, the first time in a few years that an Asian city is not up for a vote.
Sheikh Ahmad’s loyalty and trust among his colleagues is exemplified with the support he’s extended to Patrick Hickey, senior vice president for ANOC and the outgoing president of the Olympic Council of Ireland.
Ahmad won approval from the ANOC Executive Council for a $440,000 loan to Hickey to allow his return to Ireland from Brazil where he faces charges of Olympic ticket touting. Ahmad has been outspoken in calling for the presumption of innocence for Hickey, who made it home to Dublin earlier this month.
Ahmad, 56, is 15th in seniority after 24 years on the IOC as the member in Kuwait. He can serve until age 80, providing ample opportunities for him to be an influence in the future of the IOC and the Olympics.
In addition to Olympic Solidarity, his other IOC roles include vice chair of the Olympic Channel corporation in Switzerland and being a member of the Olympic Channel Commission.
The Sheikh is also involved in the decision-making for FIFA as a member of the Executive Committee.
As the president of ANOC, Ahmad serves 206 member NOCs, from the biggest to the small. His efforts to modernize the organization include annual meetings for the group instead of biennial. So far he has been successful in distributing the ANOC Assembly among the continents but Africa, South America and Australia/Oceania haven’t hosted the event yet under the current leadership. The 2017 edition will be held in Prague.
Ahmad is keen to nurture sports properties under the ANOC brand, such as the World Beach Games, now set for 2019 in San Diego. Originally planned for 2017, Ahmad backed a move to delay the inaugural event, allowing more time for preparation and proper marketing.
With the establishment of a new ANOC headquarters in Lausanne, the organization now has a significant physical presence and adequate space for the professional staff.
Ahmad has the support of key colleagues administering the work of ANOC, including secretary general Gunilla Lindberg and Husain Musalem, secretary general of the Olympic Council of Asia, which Sheikh Ahmad has led since 1991.
He maintains excellent working relations with every one of the world’s NOCs, except one, the disbarred Kuwait National Olympic Committee. No matter that the Sheikh is a member of the royal family, so too are the antagonists in the government trying to exert control over the NOC and other Kuwaiti sports bodies.
Ahmad has stepped aside from the fray, dragging into a third year. There is word from Kuwait of movement towards a restoration of order, maybe in 2017. The IOC member who had been handling negotiations with the Kuwait government is no longer available to help break the impasse. That would be Patrick Hickey, currently self-suspended from the IOC.
Written by Ed Hula.