Kuwaiti football official resigns from FIFA following corruption allegations

Kuwaiti football official resigns from FIFA following corruption allegations
Sheikh Ahmed has resigned from his leading FIFA role after his name was mentioned in a corruption case at a Brooklyn courthouse.
2 min read
30 April, 2017
Sheikh Ahmed denies the corruption allegations [Getty]

Leading Kuwaiti football official Sheikh Amed al-Fahad al-Sabah is resigning from his FIFA position over allegations of bribery, it was revealed on Sunday.

He said in a statement he will withdraw from a 8 May election in Bahrain for the FIFA seat representing Asia, which he currently holds, AP said on Sunday.

"I do not want these allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and FIFA Congresses," said the Kuwaiti royal.

"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 said.

Sheikh Ahmed insists he is innocent of the charges.

The Olympic Council of Asia president contacted the ethics panels of FIFA and the International Olympic Committee after the allegations were made in a New York federal courthouse that he had bribed Asian officials.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said he had "taken note" of the sheikh's move, adding in a brief statement that "I want to thank him for taking this decision which certainly was not easy to take but is in the best interest for FIFA."

The federation's audit committee member Richard Lai, an American citizen from Guam, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges related to taking around $1 million in bribes, including from Kuwaiti officials. The cash was to buy influence and help recruit other Asian soccer officials prepared to take bribes, Lai said in court.

Sheikh Ahmad resigned his candidacy ahead of a FIFA panel deciding whether to remove him on ethical grounds.

The FIFA Review Committee, which rules on the integrity of people seeking senior FIFA positions, has been studying his candidacy since the allegations emerged, AP reported on Saturday.

The FIFA ethics committee is making a separate assessment of whether to provisionally suspend the long-time leader of Kuwait's soccer federation who was elected to FIFA's ruling committee in 2015.