Everyone once in a while (more often than I’d like) I see a handball article that makes me shake my head in utter disbelief. The recent post on the IHF webpage, “AHF President Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad al-Sabah receives doctorate from Nippon Sports Science University of Tokyo” http://www.ihf.info/front_content.php?idcat=57&idart=1600 is one such article.
The article further explains that he received the award for his outstanding contribution to the Development of the Olympic Movement and Asian Sports and [b]especially for his efforts in promoting [/b]sports science, [b]fair play[/b], world peace and the fight against doping in Sport.
Say what? This is the same individual who was primarily responsible for arguably the biggest scandal in Olympic Qualifying history. And we’re not talking just “handball history”, but Olympic Qualifying history for all sports. Not to rehash all the gory detail, but in short, Kuwait (where the Sheikh’s from) beat South Korea in a pivotal match with officiating so obviously biased that a replay tournament had to be restaged. The Sheikh also wasn’t an idle bystander in this controversy, but an active participant as evidenced by phone calls to the IHF President which resulted in the unqualified and biased Jordanian officials being assigned to the pivotal match as well as his stonewalling and challenging the eventual IHF reversal.
If you want more details just read this summary of the official arbitration court report:
And don’t take just my opinion read what Bahrain and South Korea thought
Bahrain Handball Official Speaks Out Strongly Against Asian Federation: http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.448
Korean Times Calls for AHF President to Resign: http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.384
I’m all for moving on and letting bygones be bygones, but giving Sheikh al-Sabah an award for promoting fair play is simply beyond belief. What’s even more remarkable is it being awarded in Japan, where the controversial match was staged. Where normally reserved Japanese fans through objects on the court to protest on behalf of their rivals, the South Koreans. Just what on God’s green earth could possibly possess a Japanese University to make such a undeserved gesture?
The answer, of course, is the 2016 Olympic Games and Tokyo’s desire to host it. Sheikh al-Sabah is not only one of the 116 IOC voters that will vote on host city as head of the Olympic Council of Asia he had reportedly previously threatened http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.446 to derail Tokyo’s bid due to the Japanese Handball Federation’s participation in the replay tournament.