(ATR) For the second time in a decade there is uncertainty over the leadership of the world’s National Olympic Committee umbrella body.
Sheikh Ahmad at the 2018 Asian Games (ATR)
All 206 recognized NOCs will travel to Tokyo for the 2018 Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly. The annual meeting was unlikely to produce big headlines, until news emerged that President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is temporarily relinquishing his IOC roles.
Sheikh Ahmad became President of ANOC in 2012 following the sudden resignation of past President Mario Vazquez Rana. The latter had run ANOC for over three decades.
Ahmad is one of the most influential members of the IOC, but is facing increased scrutiny and scandal. In 2014 he was involved in a domestic political squabble with family member and rival Sheikh Nasser, of which the fallout is still felt.
Ahmad was named in April 2017 by media as one of the co-conspirators found in the indictment of Guam Football Association President Richard Lai. Lai pleaded guilty to paying bribes and was banned for life as part of the wide-ranging FIFAgate scandal. Although not charged, Ahmad stepped down from his FIFA roles in response.
The IOC said the ethics commission would investigate the FIFA allegations, and to date no outcome has been announced. Ahmad was present at the 2017 ANOC General Assembly in Prague, Czech Republic where the body by acclamation adopted a resolution in support of the Sheikh.
Sheikh Ahmad said he welcomed another IOC Ethics Commission investigation, which he believed would find him “completely exonerated”.
In addition to temporarily relinquishing his IOC membership, Sheikh Ahmad will step down as head of the Olympic Solidarity Commission. The commission meets on Nov. 27 in Tokyo, so a successor must be named soon.
Sheikh Ahmad will travel to Tokyo for the ANOC General Assembly. He is the only candidate for president, as was the case in 2014 when he was elected by acclamation.
Bach to Japan
IOC President Thomas Bach is also travelling to the 2018 ANOC General Assembly.
Bach’s trip will be one of his longest to the host country of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Ahead of the ANOC assembly, Bach will visit Fukushima with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The pair will visit sports facilities rebuilt after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo 2020 has emphasized the reconstruction and recovery from the 2011 catastrophe as a major part of its Olympic preparations.
ANOC Commissions will meet on Nov. 26-27 before the General Assembly takes place on Nov. 28-29.
Following the second day of the General Assembly, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa will hold an Extraordinary General Assembly to elect a new president.
On Nov. 30-Dec. 1 the IOC Executive Board will meet in Tokyo, followed by the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission on Dec. 3-5.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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