The country’s national Olympic committee has been banned since October 2015, after the government was accused of interference.
Negotiations to lift an Olympic ban on Kuwait are heading in a “positive direction”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the governing body added that there are still several issues that need to be ironed before the country’s Olympic return. Kuwait’s Olympic committee (KOC) has been banned since October 2015, after the country’s government was accused of interference. As a result, Kuwaiti athletes competed under the Olympic flag at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics less than two years away, risks of the country missing out on a second consecutive Summer Olympics are a main concern for the KOC.
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Best-ever Olympic medal for a Kuwait athlete, but nation is suspended so it's complicated. pic.twitter.com/tDHxGsUFlH
“A lot of work to be done”
The Kuwaiti issue was discussed at the IOC executive board in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the governing body’s spokesman Mark Adams said. “There is progress there but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Adams told reporters. “But we are heading in the right direction.”
Back in 2015, the Kuwaiti government had passed a legislation which allowed it to interfere in the elections of several of the country’s sporting organizations. This, however, goes against the IOC’s principles. Talks in past years failed to yield a positive result, with Kuwait suing the IOC for $1 billion as a compensation for the ban.
The Middle East country at the time of the ban insisted it was unjustifiable and unfair, as the IOC had not conducted “an appropriate investigation”. More than 15 of Kuwait’s national sports bodies have been suspended in the recent years.