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Arab autocrats put their stamp on global sports governance

In Emmanuel Balye and Patrick Clastres (eds.) Great Leaders of World Sport, Coubertin to the Qatari Royal Family Palgrave, 2018

The careers of three of the most prominent international sports executives from the Gulf illustrate how Middle Eastern autocracy and the lack of transparency and accountability of global and regional associations have reinforced each other over the last decade. The three-man—International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, and disgraced former FIFA executive committee member Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar—symbolize much of what is wrong with international sports governance: manipulation of sports for the political gain of governments and/or powerful individuals, and refusal to adhere to fundamental values such as human rights enshrine din the organizations’ charter and corruption.

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