ANOC postpones leadership election but Sheikh Ahmad offered support

The Association of National Olympic Committees has reluctantly postponed its presidential election in the wake of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah’s decision to temporarily stand down from the post to fight forgery charges in Switzerland.

Sheikh Ahmad, who denies any wrongdoing in the case, was the only candidate in the election, meaning the ballot would need to be adjourned. But the gathering only agreed to the postponement when the influential Kuwaiti returned to the hall to plead with delegates to approve it.

“This particular ship of ANOC has been sailing very smoothly so now it is not the time to abandon the captain,” said Guyana’s Olympic Committee president Kalam Azad Juman-Yassin in a show of support.

Fijian Robin Mitchell was confirmed as senior vice-president and will lead the organisation in Sheikh Ahmad’s absence. But the Kuwaiti said he has no plans to stand down from the role permanently.

“I decided to step aside for a while and to come back to you stronger, not only in my beliefs but with trust,” he told delegates. “I am confident and I am innocent. I have trust in the courts of justice in Switzerland.”