(ATR) A close ally to Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah assures that the Kuwaiti Olympic leader will travel to Tokyo next week for the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Julio Maglione, ANOC first vice president (ATR)
The 206 member Association meets November 26 to 29 in Tokyo. Sheikh Ahmad, 57 has presided over the group since 2012 and is unopposed for re-election at the Tokyo meeting.
"I personally believe that Al-Sabah will be present in Tokyo and will be re-elected unanimously," ANOC first vice president, Julio Cesar Maglione, tells Around the Rings
. Maglione is next in line to lead the Association should the Sheikh not be able to serve as president .
Doubts about a possible absence of the Sheikh Ahmad gained some currency this week with his announcement that he was stepping aside from his IOC membership. That includes suspending his chairmanship of Olympic Solidarity.
The Sheikh took these steps following accusations that he participated in a fraudulent attempt to create evidence in defense of a lawsuit filed by a political rival in Kuwait.
He denies any fraudulent conduct and is asking for a review of the case by the IOC Ethics Commission.
He has not relinquished his presidency of the Olympic Council of Asia, the continental body he has led since 1992, nor his command of ANOC. He was the only candidate to file for president and he could be confirmed by acclamation Nov. 29 in Tokyo.
"The NOCs are all very happy with their good work" so "he has to continue,” says Maglione.
Of particular concern to the NOCs is the Olympic Solidarity fund that the Sheikh oversees. Every four years Olympic Solidarity distributes about $500 million to the world’s national Olympic committees.
But as in other other recent cases of self-suspended IOC members, Sheikh Ahmad will give up this high profile IOC slot.
Patrick Hickey self-suspended his IOC membership in 2016 after his arrest on ticket scalping charges in Rio de Janeiro. He gave up a seat on the IOC Executive Board and the presidency of the European Olympic Committees. Now more than two years after his arrest, Hickey waits for word from the Brazilian court as to the disposition of his case. He is back in Ireland following payment of a $420,000 bail. The money was loaned to Hickey by ANOC.
Frank Fredericks, the Namibia Olympian implicated in the IOC vote-buying allegations against ex-IAAF president and former IOC member Lamine Diack, remains self-suspended since 2016 and under Ethics Commission review. He relinquiched his chairmanship of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games and a seat on the coordination commission for Paris 2024.
"Sheikh Ahmad strongly denies any irregularity in the legal case that has been brought against him in Switzerland,” says a statement from the Sheik's office in Kuwait office. It is published on personal letterhead with no Olympic symbols on the page.
"It is clear that the whole matter is based on accusations maliciously motivated by political factions within Kuwait since 2012 and the matter has already been reviewed and closed in Kuwait," says the statement from Kowait.
Sheikh Ahmad and Thomas Bach at ANOC General Assembly last year (ATR)
Last year, Sheikh Ahmad resigned from the FIFA Council after denying claims that linked him to the FIFA corruption trials taking place in the U.S. Ahmad is supposedly under investigation by the IOC Ethics Commission regarding this allegation.
Maglione, 84, is a veteran of ANOC, serving 20 years as a vice president. The Tokyo meeting will mark his final days in that position as he will not seek another term. He remains president of the Uruguayan Olympic Committee .
Maglione is an honorary member of the IOC after retiring in 2015 following 19 years as a member. He’s now serving a final term as president the International Swimming Federation.
Maglione said he was unaware of contacts between ANOC and the IOC on the current situation facing Al-Sabah
"I have not participated in any conversation, and I do not know if they have been made," he tells ATR
He affirmed that the accusations against the president of ANOC "seek to generate problems for the Sheikh."
"None of those approaches that have been made against him have been proven," he added.
Maglione described the current situation as "one more storm that will end up dissipating by the wind".
Maglione says 2019 will mark the 40th year of the founding of ANOC.
"I hope that they will celebrate with the President Sheikh Al-Sabah,” he says.
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.
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