Kuwait’s national sports clubs have rallied behind the Gulf state’s authorities in their dispute with FIFA over alleged government interference in local soccer associations, state news agency KUNA said on Friday.
FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, has given the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) until this week to avoid implementing a new set of sports laws it believes threaten the autonomy of the KFA when they come into force on Oct. 27.
Kuwait, home to influential sports power broker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, faces a FIFA ban if it fails to comply with the world body’s request.
After a meeting late on Thursday, the sports clubs issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to regulations approved by the Kuwaiti authorities.
“Representatives of nine out of the 15 sports clubs said the legislative authorities are always keen on non-interference in the technical and administrative affairs of the clubs,” Kuna reported.
Kuwait has twice previously been banned for government interference by FIFA, in 2007 and 2008, and a third ban could have significant ramifications for the February elections to decide upon a new leader at the Switzerland-based world body.
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter and European soccer boss Michel Platini were both suspended on Thursday, engulfed by a deepening corruption scandal as their sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.
Sheikh Ahmad is a former oil minister, honorary president of the KFA, a member of the FIFA executive committee member and president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
He carries significant sway in the 47-member Asian Football Confederation, which previously backed Platini to succeed Blatter as president of FIFA.
However, the AFC are understood to be weighing that position amid the latest developments in the corruption scandal.