Olympic Game of Thrones: Bach's IOC suspends Sheikh Ahmad until after presidential election

One of the biggest crime stories in the Olympic world takes another surprising turn. The Executive Board of the IOC has suspended the highly influential Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah as an IOC member for three years. The consequences are hard to foresee. It has the potential to blow up the Olympic family.

From allies to enemies? Sheikh Ahmad, Thomas Bach. (Photo: ANOC)
From allies to enemies? Sheikh Ahmad, Thomas Bach. (Photo: ANOC)

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's ruling family and currently Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister of the Gulf state, had at the beginning of July diked the election of his brother Talal Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) - allegedly by corrupt means that had dominated the OCA for decades. The IOC had interfered in the election campaign in a hitherto little-known way and tried to stop Ahmad and Talal. In Kuwait, all this has long been a state affair.

The thrilling saga of Sheikh Ahmad, the Olympic Game of Thrones, had taken another bizarre turn in 2021 with his criminal conviction to a prison sentence in Switzerland. (Here you can read a summary of the first four decades of Ahmad's scandalous and sometimes tumultuous IOC career:

Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Al-Sabah sentenced to prison
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah has been sentenced to prison. Our author has observed the Kuwaiti Sheikh for many years and has been threatened by the Sheikh’s aides several times. He describes the methods that brought Ahmad to power and the implications of the conviction for Al-Sabah and the Olympic system.

Since then, it had become somewhat quiet about Ahmad, at least at the highest IOC level, also in the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), but not in Asian sport under the umbrella of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). In the Al-Sabah clan, which had ruled Kuwait for more than a century, Ahmad climbed the ladder again and enjoyed renewed favour. So he became a minister again, as he had many years before. He enjoyed even more privileges - and the next sports-political clash occurred very quickly.

Thomas Bach and the Sheikh - the Moscow alliance

The IOC had basically covered up the machinations of Sheikh Ahmad, whose father was already an IOC member and OCA president, for three decades. Sheikh Ahmad and IOC President Thomas Bach supported each other for many years. According to Ahmad, the duo made a pact on the sidelines of the 2001 IOC session in Moscow, the gist of which obviously was that Bach would become IOC President first, supported by Ahmad, then the Sheikh.

  • Part 1 of the deal was fulfilled in Buenos Aires in 2013, when Bach was crowned IOC boss with the active help of Ahmad.
  • Part 2 of the deal will no longer be possible to implement, because the next presidential election is scheduled for 2025 - and Sheikh Ahmad is now suspended by the Bach-loving IOC Executive Board until 2026.

Here are three documents from Lausanne.

  • The first one is the Decision Proposal für IOC's EB. Confidential, of course, that's why I published the document exclusively on my website: