Sheik Ahmad of Kuwait 'vigorously' denies Fifa bribery claims

Jen Offord
Fifa sign

Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah of Kuwait, a member of the council of world football governing body Fifa, has denied allegations made in a US court relating to long-running claims of corruption within the organisation.

In a statement made by the Olympic Council of Asia – of which he is also president – on Saturday, the council said he would "vigorously" defend himself against the claims.

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Sheik Ahmad was implicated in the ongoing case of Fifa audit committee member Richard Lai, who pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud conspiracy on Thursday, in relation to bribery.

Lai admitted to receiving $1m (£1.3m) in bribes from Asian soccer leaders who had hoped to gain influence in elections within the governing body.

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In a transcript of Lai's hearing, an unnamed person "co-conspirator #2" was described as "the president of Olympic Council of Asia". The transcript sets out that Lai "received at least $770,000 in wire transfers from accounts associated with Co-Conspirator #3 and the OCA between November of 2009 and about the fall of 2014".

He continues: "I understood that the source of this money was ultimately Co-Conspirator #2 and on some occasion Co-Conspirator #3 told me to send him an email saying that I need funds so he could show the email to Co-Conspirator #2."

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The OCA said in a statement on Saturday: "Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is aware of media speculations concerning alleged payments to Richard Lai.

"Sheik Ahmad is very surprised by such allegations and strongly denies any wrongdoing. He will vigorously defend his integrity and reputation."

The claims are just some in a string of those against a number of Fifa officials including former President Sepp Blatter, who's six-year-ban from football was upheld last year. Yesterday, it was announced that despite Blatter's replacement, Gianni Infantino, announcing last year he would not seek a re-vote over the controversial election of 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts, Russia and Qatar, French financial prosecutors would investigate the bidding process.

Who is Sheik Ahmad of Kuwait?

Former military-man and government minister, Sheik Ahmad holds a number of positions in sporting governing bodies, including as the vice-president for the International Handball Federation. He is also President of the Olympic Council of Asia and has been a member of the International Olympic Committee – as Sepp Blatter was – since 1992.

Sheik Ahmad has been a member of the Fifa Council since 2015 having been the head of the Kuwait Football Association for 14 years as of 1990. He is set to stand for re-election for his seat on Fifa's ruling committee on 8 May, but could now be ruled ineligible.

The Fifa Council replaced the organisation's disbanded and discredited executive committee after stories of corruption within the governing body began to emerge.

Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah

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