World sport power broker Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad al Sabah announced his resignation Sunday from the FIFA council, saying did not want to be a distraction while fighting corruption allegations.
Aside from serving on FIFA’s top body, the Kuwaiti is also president of the Olympic Council of Asia and holds other senior roles in sport administration, including with the Asian Football Confederation (FIFA).
Sheikh Ahmad has been named as a co-conspirator of disgraced Guam football chief Richard Lai, who pleaded guilty in New York this week to receiving nearly $1 million in bribes from football officials wanting his help to influence FIFA.
The Sheikh denied all wrongdoing on Saturday before deciding to step back from his FIFA post on Sunday.
“I do not want these allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming AFC and FIFA Congresses,” he said in an emailed statement.
“Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided it is in the best interests of FIFA and the AFC, for me to withdraw my candidacy for the FIFA Council and resign from my current football positions,” he added.
“I will continue to support the family of football once these allegations have been disproved.”
Sheikh Ahmad, a former Kuwaiti oil minister, has in unconfirmed reports been linked to bribes accepted by Lai in exchange for backing an Asian candidate in FIFA’s 2011 presidential election.
Lai, Pacific island Guam’s football chief since 2001, has been suspended by both FIFA and the AFC after he admitted accepting bribes between 2009 and 2014.