Top Kuwaiti sports official Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah yesterday resigned from the FIFA Council amid corruption allegations.
Sheikh Ahmad, who also heads the Association of National Olympic Committees, the Olympic Council of Asia and holds a number of other international sporting roles was named as a co-conspirator of Guam football chief Richard Lai.
Lai pleaded guilty this week to receiving nearly $1m in bribes from football officials wanting to influence FIFA decisions.
Sheikh Ahmad had initially denied all wrongdoing before resigning from his position yesterday.
He said in an emailed statement to AFP that he did not want the allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA Congresses.
“Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided it is in the best interests of FIFA and the AFC for me to withdraw my candidacy for the FIFA Council and resign from my current football positions,” he was quoted as saying.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino thanked Sheikh Ahmad for making the decision as it was in the best interest of FIFA.
The Kuwaiti had been linked to bribes accept by Lai in exchange for backing an Asian candidate in FIFA’s 2011 election and help in gaining control of the AFC.
Documents filed by a federal court in Brooklyn identify Lai’s co-conspirator #2 as a high ranking official of FIFA, the Kuwait Football Association and the Olympic Council of Aisa but do not name Sheikh Ahmad directly.
Co-conspirator #2 is linked to multiple payments aimed at influencing football elections including a transaction in November 2009 worth $200,000.
Yesterday a number of Kuwaiti MPS called for an investigation into the allegations against Sheikh Ahmad, according to Kuwait Times.
MP Safa Al-Hashem said she supported calls for a probe by the National Assembly, while others supported an investigation to determine if the allegations were linked to the country’s ban from international sport since October 2015.