Fifa ends Kuwait’s suspension after more than two years

KUWAIT CITY: World football governing body Fifa announced on Wednesday it was lifting its suspension of Kuwait, after the Gulf state’s parliament adopted a law meant to end government interference in the sport. Kuwait can return to international football following an absence of more than two years. “The suspension of the Kuwait football association is lifted,” Fifa’s president Gianni Infantino announced alongside a Kuwaiti official in a short video shared widely on Twitter. Infantino was visiting Kuwait to announce the eagerly anticipated decision.

World sports bodies led by Fifa and the International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for the second time since 2010 over alleged government meddling in sports. The suspensions meant Kuwait missed out on the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup, and before that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. On Sunday, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a new law in line with Fifa’s requirements and on Tuesday, Kuwaiti clubs elected the head of a new football federation.

Kuwait was suspended in October 2015 over a government bill which the global soccer body said interfered in the independence of the country’s FA and fell foul of the Fifa statutes. Fifa said in a statement that the lifting of the ban followed official confirmation “that the Kuwait Parliament has adopted a new Sports Law of Kuwait, which replaces all the previous ones and has been amended in order to be fully compliant with the Fifa Statutes and requirements.” The lifting of the ban means Kuwait’s national teams and clubs can take part in international competition again and it again becomes eligible for Fifa grants. — Agencies