Kuwait ban unlikely to be lifted in time for Rio: IOC

Thu Jun 2, 2016 1:35pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Kuwait's chances of competing at the Rio Games were dealt a severe blow on Thursday with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying a ban imposed last year was unlikely to be lifted in time.

Kuwait's athletes would not, however, be banned from the Games starting on Aug. 5 but would compete as independent athletes under the Olympic flag, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

Kuwait and the IOC have been at loggerheads over a new sports law that the Olympic body says will undermine the autonomy of sport in the country. Kuwait argues it will strengthen the independence of sports bodies.

"The situation with Kuwait is not improving," Adams told reporters. "Since the last IOC executive board there has been no positive development due to the attitude of the government."

"It is unlikely to be resolved by the time of the Games in Rio. We believe Kuwait will remain suspended," he said.

The ban, which was imposed in October, means the country's Olympic Committee and consequently its athletes are not eligible for any funding from the IOC for the duration of the suspension and cannot take part in any IOC-linked event.

The IOC redistributes the majority of revenues from the Games to its stakeholders, including the National Olympic Committees.

Athletes and coaches also regularly benefit from Olympic scholarships, for which Kuwaitis are now also not eligible.   Continued...