(Reuters) - The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has decided to set up five new sub offices to enable it to function effectively while the row with the Kuwait government continues over its headquarters in the Gulf State.
Kuwait was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October 2015 after the government was accused of interference in its national Olympic Committee, which has subsequently been dissolved.
A month later, the long-term agreement for the OCA to have its headquarters in Kuwait City was unilaterally torn up by the government.
The OCA Executive Board met on Saturday and decided to set up regional offices in Bangkok, Almaty, Delhi and Nansha, China as well as in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of the IOC.
“We are committed to not only continuing with our services but to improve them further,” OCA Director General Husain Al Musallam said in a statement.
“We hope for the (Kuwait) government to finalize what is the direction. (They) terminated the diplomatic agreement in November last year and we are looking forward to finalizing all the related issues officially with them.
“But now, with these five offices, plus Lausanne, the OCA and the Asian Games is well protected.”
The board meeting in Danang, Vietnam also agreed to limit the number of athletes at the Asian Games to two per country per sport.
“This decision has been made to reduce the participants at the Asian Games, which now involve 15,000 athletes and officials from the 45 countries and regions, 4,000 technical staff, 8,000 media and 30,000 volunteers and workforce, meaning some 60,000 people are involved every day of the Games,” read an OCA statement.
Australia, who are in the Oceania confederation for the Olympics but Asia for soccer, have also been invited to participate at the 2017 Asian Winter Games, but without the chance of winning medals.
“Oceania is a neighboring confederation for Asia and we welcome not only Australia but all Oceania to take the opportunity to enter for the first time, as a guest but with no medals,” the statement added.
“We will evaluate the situation after that.”
Oceania does not organize a Winter Games. The next Asian Winter games are in Sapporo, Japan in February, while the next Summer version of the continental gathering takes place in Indonesia in 2018.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien