Kuwait face exclusion from Asian Cup if FIFA ban remains

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Kuwait will be removed from the 2019 Asian Cup if it is still suspended by FIFA on Dec. 18.

The Asian Football Confederation set the deadline on Friday, giving Kuwait three weeks to resolve a government-imposed law affecting the independence of national sports bodies.

The dispute involves ruling family politics linked to Olympic powerbroker and FIFA Council member Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.

FIFA suspended the Kuwait Football Association in October 2015 when the national team was midway through a 2018 World Cup qualifying group. Despite Kuwait forfeiting three matches, they still finished third in a five-team group and advanced to an Asian Cup qualifying group stage.

The AFC wants clarity one month before making the 24-team draw in January.

The 2019 Asian Cup will be in the United Arab Emirates.

Kuwait's national Olympic committee has also been suspended by the IOC since last year for breaching rules that prohibit government interference.

Kuwait athletes competed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic under the Olympic flag and not as a national team.