FIFA lifts ban for political interference on Kuwait

One of football's longest political disputes has ended with FIFA lifting the suspension it imposed on the Kuwait Football Association in 2015.

FIFA announced its decision on Wednesday, saying: "This decision has been taken following official confirmation to FIFA that the Kuwait parliament has adopted a new sports law of Kuwait, which replaces all the previous ones and has been amended in order to be fully compliant with the FIFA statutes and requirements."

Many Kuwaitis have claimed it has fallen foul of FIFA's rules because of a power struggle within the Gulf state's ruling family involving Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of sport's most influential men.

Kuwait's former minister for oil and national football team coach, Sheikh Ahmad, recently stepped down from FIFA's council after he was linked to a football corruption case in the United States.

The 54-year-old has denied any wrongdoing and has retained his presidency of the Association of National Olympic Committees, Olympic Council of Asia and Asian Handball Federation, as well as his membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Meanwhile, Kuwait's national Olympic committee remains suspended by the IOC.

The lifting of the Kuwait FA's suspension comes at a pivotal moment for the region as Kuwait is one of the few states not to have fallen out with Qatar.

The hosts of the 2022 World Cup had been looking very isolated as the diplomatic crisis with its Gulf neighbours approached its seventh month.

However, the return of Kuwait to FIFA gives Qatar another friend at the table as it continues with its preparations for the Middle East's first World Cup.