Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad al Sabah, who has stepped away temporarily from the presidency of an Olympic umbrella group to fight a criminal court case in Switzerland, was praised by IOC President Thomas Bach on Thursday.
“We have said, first of all, that we respect the decision he took under his own will and we recognize that this decision, his decision, was taken in the interests of all of us,” Bach told 1,400 delegates of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Tokyo.
The Kuwaiti sheikh last week also suspended himself from his 26-year membership in the International Olympic Committee in order to fight the corruption case.
He has said he’s innocent and says the case is “politically motivated.”
ANOC senior vice president Robin Mitchell will serve as the acting president. Mitchell said he had no idea how long that would be for.
Sheikh Ahmad is accused by Geneva public prosecutors of forgery in an alleged faked arbitration case involving four others.
“We hope we can see him back here very soon after his case is solved,” Bach told delegates, who applauded warmly.
Many credit Sheikh Ahmad with swinging votes to get Bach elected in 2013.
Bach also lectured the delegates about the need for good governance: “Maybe you don’t want to hear it anymore. But I will not get tired of repeating it with regard to good governance: What affects one of us affects all of us.”
The IOC has been hit with embarrassing corruption cases. Sheikh Ahmad is the third IOC member recently to be suspended — or self-suspended. A fourth, honorary member Carlos Nuzman who headed the 2016 Olympics, is also suspended.