LFor many years, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was the most important vote collector of the Olympic movement. Influencing elections was a passion of the now 58-year-old multifunctional from Kuwait, a member of his country’s ruling family. With his support, Thomas Bach, from Tauberbischofsheim, also won the election as President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires in 2013.
But now he no longer holds court in the hotel bars of the world, and not because of the pandemic. In November 2018, he suspended himself from IOC membership and from his office as President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) because of a Swiss lawsuit against him.
The verdict has now been pronounced: Sheikh Ahmad was sentenced to 13 months in prison plus 15 months probation for forging evidence. In doing so, the Geneva court went beyond the six months’ imprisonment (plus two years probation) requested by the prosecution.
The three-person panel of judges considered it proven that Sheikh Ahmad and four other defendants had forged videos and documents on the basis of which he accused two members of the Kuwaiti government of planning a coup d’état and of corruption. The sheikh, who denies all allegations, announced that he would appeal. In 2015, he apologized for the same allegations on Kuwait’s state television.
Sheikh Ahmad is also now suspending his post as President of the Olympic Council of Asia. He had resigned from his seat in the executive branch of the world football association in 2017 due to an investigation in the USA. The IOC announced that the ethics committee would review the ruling. Should the Kuwait also lose the appeal process, his career in Olympic sports politics should be over.