(ATR) He has promised to return, but for now Sheikh Ahmad is gone and not forgotten as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
While he has abandoned that post as head of the organization representing the world’s 206 NOCs, supposedly on a temporary basis, the outsized influence of Sheikh Ahmad remains.
Much will depend on the outcome of a trial set for March in which he is a defendant in a Swiss case alleging a conspiracy to create fraudulent evidence for another court proceeding. The sheikh denies wrongdoing but could face a prison term if he is convicted.
Sheikh Ahmad self-suspended his IOC membership along with his ANOC presidency while he faces the trial. He has not relinquished his presidency of the Olympic Council of Asia, which he has held since 1992.
While the IOC has removed his name as chair of the Olympic Solidarity commission, replacing it with Robin Mitchell, ANOC still includes Ahmad as president, with Mitchell listed as interim president.
Supposedly new commissions will be named in early 2019, different from the previously established panels. Presumably Ahmad’s influence has already been cast as far as the chairmanships and members.
Gunilla Lindberg, secretary general of ANOC since 2004, well before Ahmad became president in 2012, is obviously well-versed in the operations and management of ANOC.
Look for Lindberg and Mitchell to keep a steady hand on the tiller at ANOC while Sheikh Ahmad sorts out his situation. The coming months will provide the answer as to whether the new pilots will have to make a course correction.
The Around the Rings Golden 25 is the annual survey of individuals who will have the most influence for the Olympic Movement in the year ahead. First published in 1997, this is the 22nd edition.
Reported by Ed Hula.