Just days after Kuwait Club won the Asian Football Confederation Cup championship, the country was mired in a football crisis as Kuwait’s highest sports governing body dissolved boards of 10 Kuwaiti clubs due to their failure to adhere to the law.
Over the past two years, Kuwaiti football has been marred by a series of disputes, the most prominent of which resulted in a decision by FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, to ban Kuwait from playing internationally. The decision came after the Kuwaiti parliament made changes to the structure of the Kuwaiti Football Association in light of irresolvable internal disputes.
Among these changes was the formation of a 14-member board of directors for the association, with one member per team. FIFA opposed that and demanded that the number of board members be limited to five, among other conditions. FIFA gave Kuwait a deadline to implement these requirements, but the country did not adhere to it.
Kuwait’s political leadership, however, weighed in, and FIFA extended the deadline and suspended the ban on international play. FIFA also agreed that Kuwait could amend the governing law of its football association and appoint a temporary committee to administer the body and oversee the election of a permanent 14-member board of directors.
Not all football clubs accepted this agreement, however, and they split into two groups, the bloc clubs of ten teams led by Al-Qadsiya and its powerful president, Talal Al-Fahed Al-Sabbah, and the standard clubs made up of Kuwait Club, Al-Salmiya, Al-Kazma and Al-Arabi.
The temporary committee governing the football association set Nov. 11 as the date when Kuwait’s 14 clubs would meet to officially pass the amendment and end the crisis. The bloc clubs plotted to thwart it and hold a meeting four days later. Their plan was to move ahead with a new board of directors consisting of only five members.
Since the 10 bloc clubs constituted a majority of the 14 clubs in the association, they were able to abort the first meeting, but could not set up a second meeting because they were pre-empted by the Public Authority for Youth and Sport, Kuwait’s highest athletic body that ruled to dissolve the boards of the 10 bloc clubs, Al-Qadsiya, Al-Tadamon, Al-Jahra, Al-Yarmouk, Al-Fahaheel, Al-Sulaibikhat, Al-Shabab, Al-Sahel, Khaitan and Al-Naser.
That decision may have serious implications because FIFA generally opposes any political interference in the affairs of local football associations. It is also possible that the issue could turn into a political struggle between the two “blocs” involved in the crisis.
Sources: The Kuwaiti