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Kuala Lumpur: The alarming decline in football in Kuwait since the Kuwait Football Association’s suspension from the world game was relayed to the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Executive Committee this week.

Kuwait FA were suspended by FIFA in October 2015 and now there are growing concerns that there might be irreparable damage caused to the opportunities for the next generation of young footballers and their aspirations.

There was hope the situation would return to normal with guarantees from the Kuwait Government to FIFA and the AFC last December and in January 2017. However, the Acting Sports Minister extended the mandate of the Government-installed interim football committee on February 23, 2017 for another three months.

The AFC Executive Committee had already denounced government interference at their meeting in Kuala Lumpur and they agreed that the situation was deteriorating rapidly in Kuwait with the very infrastructure of the game being threatened.

Fears persist that at least one generation - possibly two - could have lost their opportunity of representing their teams and country in top level competitions – like the AFC Cup final, the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and even the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018.

In Kuwait, the belief is that the fabric of the sport has been suffering with the recent allegations of match-fixing to favour certain clubs and the integrity of the game has been further compromised by the resignation of 22 referees in protest at the management of the domestic competitions.

There have also been reports of escalating violence at matches and also even fatalities caused by the lack of medical facilities and equipment at matches. An under 12 player Fisail Talal Al Mutairi, from Khetan Club, died on the way to the hospital succumbing to injuries sustained in a match.

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