KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Football Association (KFA) plans to move forward with an effort to have its suspension from FIFA lifted after amending its statues this week. “We should have met a long time ago. The general assembly meeting is based on the demands of FIFA, which rejects any government interference and wants Kuwaiti clubs to play an independent role,” Saleh Al-Majroub, General Secretary of Fahaheel Sport Club, told Kuwait Times.

The extraordinary general assembly of the Kuwait Football Association on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved amendments to its statutes in the presence of all Kuwaiti clubs in a bid to get its suspension lifted by FIFA. Majroub said the new amendments state “an extraordinary general assembly will be convened,” adding that “members should be informed of the place, time and agenda within one week before the extraordinary general assembly.” He added members of the general assembly can hold an extraordinary general assembly to appoint the board of directors of KFA and name a temporary five-year transitional committee of general members to manage the affairs of the association.

Majroub noted two articles have been amended, which provide for the convening of the extraordinary general assembly every three months. “We will hold the assembly every week if necessary. And the assembly has the right to dissolve the association,” he explained. He added the Kuwaiti football clubs also discussed cooperation with FIFA and where the clubs stand now. Jawad Al-Ghareeb, assistant treasurer, board member and Salmiya Football Club representative at the meeting, said Salmiya Football Club joined the general assembly without any external pressures.

“In light of the problems faced by the Kuwait Football Association, we decided it is our right to exercise our role in lifting the suspension, ending the damage caused to coaches and players and to resolve the problem,” Ghareeb said. “We have not been pressured to convene the general assembly. We have taken all decisions completely independently, where 14 clubs met to discuss matters related to cooperation with FIFA.

These amendments are fair and in the service of Kuwaiti sport and athletes. They will be beneficial for us without interference from any other party,” Treasurer of Al-Sahel Club Faleh Al-Daihani said. The General Assembly adopted the amendments to the statutes with a majority of 13 clubs, with Qadsiya Sports Club registering its rejection of the changes. Kuwait has been suspended by the world football body since 2015 because of alleged government interference. Last year, the authorities ordered police to seize the football association and Olympic committee offices, in the latest round of a sporting power struggle.

The move came after the government’s sports commission ousted Sheikh Talal Fahd Al-Sabah as head of the KFA and the Kuwait Olympic Committee. Fawaz Al-Hasawi, who was named as new head of the football association, was the then owner of English Championship side Nottingham Forest. At a press conference after the football offices were seized, Hasawi promised increased prizes in the Kuwaiti championship. However, the ousted head said authorities had used “threat and intimidation” in an official notice demanding that the KFA offices be handed over. Hasawi later resigned and two of its top teams withdrew from league competition after complaints against the league’s chaotic disciplinary system.

By Faten Omar