Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has been banned from the IOC for three years, it was announced today ©Getty Images

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, already self-suspended as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been banned today for three years following his role in the controversial Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) election earlier this month.

The IOC also announced they were refusing to recognise the election of Sheikh Ahmad's younger brother Sheikh Talal Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah until a proper investigation has been conducted.

It followed an emergency meeting today of the IOC Executive Board, who have adopted the recommendations of its Ethics Commission. 

Sheikh Talal replaced Sheikh Ahmad who led the OCA for 30 years until 2021, when he was forced to step down after being found guilty of forgery in a court in Geneva and sentenced to at least 13 months in prison.

The 58-year-old Sheikh Talal beat fellow Kuwaiti Husain Al-Musallam, the organisation's director general and President of World Aquatics, at the OCA General Assembly in Bangkok by 24 votes to 20.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is now Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, had travelled to the capital in Thailand to lobby on behalf of his brother in direct opposition to a warning not to from the IOC's chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli.

She had claimed that it "could be considered as an interference within the OCA activities".

The IOC today sent a letter to its members, National Olympic Committees and International Federations advising them of the outcome of its meeting. 

"To confirm the seriousness of the breach of the provisional suspension imposed on Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, in particular regarding his involvement in the  Olympic Council of Asia's activities," a letter signed by IOC director general Christophe De Kepper and obtained by insidethegames said.

"Consequently, to sanction Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah by suspending all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his quality as an IOC Member for a period of three (3) years, starting from the date of the decision by the IOC Executive Board."

The letter also warned IOC members "to refrain from interacting with Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, in particular to avoid any risk of any perception of influence on any decisions regarding the Olympic Movement."

Sheikh Ahmad had self-suspended himself as an IOC member and stepped aside as President of the Association of National Olympic Committees in November 2018 when he was originally charged with forgery.

He has appealed against the decision and is currently waiting to hear the result.

But the IOC Executive signalled he would be expelled if he loses. 

"To note that the IOC Ethics Commission reserves its right to review the individual situation of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah as an IOC Member following the decision by the Court of Appeal of Geneva," De Kepper wrote.

IOC director general Christophe De Kepper wrote today to its members, National Olympic Committees and International Federations to tell them about their decision on Sheikh Ahmad ©ITG
IOC director general Christophe De Kepper wrote today to its members, National Olympic Committees and International Federations to tell them about their decision on Sheikh Ahmad ©ITG

The IOC Ethics Commission also want a review of the OCA election where Sheikh Ahmad is widely believed to have guided the campaign from his hotel suite in Bangkok, with several countries switching their votes overnight after his arrival on a Kuwait Government jet, leading to a decisive swing behind Sheikh Talal.

"To consider the undeniable impact on the OCA's elections of Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah's behaviour, and consequently not to recognise these elections until a full review of the OCA's elections process is carried out at a later stage," De Kepper wrote.

Before the vote in Bangkok started, the chair of the OCA's Ethics Committee, Wei Jizhong, warned that they spotted signs of "irregularities" that they planned to investigate after the election.

It has also been decided that no grants to Asian National Olympic Committees will be directed through Olympic Solidarity, the organisation that Sheikh Ahmad used to control, until "the OCA’s elections have been recognised  by the IOC."

Sheikh Talal's election means that the House of Sabah retains control of the OCA.

The OCA was founded in 1982 by his father Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who led it until 1990 when he was killed defending Dasman Palace on the first day of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Sheikh Ahmad had succeeded him the following year and had led the organisation until he was forced to step down and was temporarily replaced by India's Randhir Singh.