Controversial sheikh re-elected as Asian Olympic chief

Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah has won a new, five-year term as president of the Olympic Council of Asia. (AFP pic)

BANGKOK: Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah was re-elected president of the powerful Olympic Council of Asia on Sunday despite forgery charges that forced him to step aside from the International Olympic Committee and other duties.

Sheikh Ahmad, considered a major powerbroker in world sport, won a new five-year term until 2024, the OCA said, extending a reign that started in 1991 over the body that controls the Asian Games and other regional events.

“I will do all I can to continue working for this organisation,” he said at the OCA general assembly in Bangkok.

In November, Sheikh Ahmad stood down as an IOC member pending an ethics committee investigation after a forgery case was brought against him in Switzerland.

Among his Olympic duties was leading Olympic Solidarity, which decides how broadcast revenues are distributed among national Olympic committees.

He also asked not to be re-elected president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

“I am confident I am innocent. I trust the court of justice in Switzerland… I know I am innocent,” he told ANOC delegates at the time.

Sheikh Ahmad, a long-time IOC member seen as a close ally of President Thomas Bach, is accused of orchestrating a complex forgery scheme linked to his efforts to prove Kuwait’s former prime minister is guilty of corruption and plotting a coup.

The aim of the alleged forgery, according to a Swiss charge sheet seen by AFP, was to legitimise suspicious video recordings he had presented in Kuwait as evidence of corrupt practices by ex-premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and former parliament chief Jassem al-Khorafi.

In 2017 Sheikh Ahmad — a nephew of Kuwait’s ruler – resigned from the FIFA council after denying corruption allegations linked to the case of disgraced Guam football chief Richard Lai.