India's Randhir Singh has been asked by the IOC to carry on as Acting President of the OCA ©OCA

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked India’s Randhir Singh to continue as acting head of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) after it refused to recognise the election of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah's younger brother as President.

Singh had been serving as Acting President since 2021 after Sheikh Ahmad was forced to step down after being found guilty of forgery in a court in Geneva and sentenced to at least 13 months in prison.

Sheikh Talal Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah was elected the new permanent President at the OCA General Assembly in Bangkok earlier this month.

The 58-year-old Sheikh Talal beat fellow Kuwaiti Husain Al-Musallam, the organisation's director general and President of World Aquatics, at the OCA General Assembly in Bangkok by 24 votes to 20.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is now Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, had travelled to the capital in Thailand to lobby on behalf of his brother in direct opposition to a warning not to from the IOC's chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli.

After defying the order, Sheikh Ahmad was banned by the IOC Executive Board for three years and an inquiry has been launched into the election, as first reported by insidethegames.

The IOC have refused to recognise the election of Sheikh Talal Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah as President of the Olympic Council of Asia at its General Assembly in Bangkok earlier this month ©OCA
The IOC have refused to recognise the election of Sheikh Talal Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah as President of the Olympic Council of Asia at its General Assembly in Bangkok earlier this month ©OCA

The IOC has now written to 76-year-old Singh, a former secretary general of the OCA under Sheikh Ahmad between 1991 and 2015, asking him to take over again.

“Seeing as the IOC investigation is likely not to be concluded before October 2023 and since the IOC has not recognised the election of Sheikh Talal Al-Sabah, the IOC will continue to work with you as OCA’s Acting President and with the OCA Executive Board that was in place prior to the Bangkok General Assembly," the IOC wrote.

“We expect that you continue to direct the OCA administration in all matters, including the calling of any Executive Boards, General Assemblies and any other meetings needed for the governance of the OCA.

"We would also appreciate if you could confirm to whom the IOC should address itself for daily administration business.

"Following the outcome of the IOC investigation, we will work with you to implement the next steps of a roadmap to ensure the continued functioning of the OCA according to the basic principles of good governance."

It means that Singh will be in charge of the OCA when the Asian Games are due to open in Hangzhou on September 23. 

Among those who had backed the election of Sheikh Talal, despite the OCA Ethics Commission warning before the vote that they suspected malpractice, was Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President P.T. Usha.

She wrote on social media that the IOA looked forward to a "prospering association under his able leadership."

Singh was a member of the IOC between 2001 and 2014, and has been an honorary member for the last nine years.

He represented India in the Olympics at Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, making him the second athlete to represent his country at five Games. 

Singh also competed in four Asian Games, winning a gold medal at Bangkok 1978 and becoming the first Indian shooter to claim victory in the Asian Games.

As well as his role with the OCA, Singh served as secretary general of the IOA between 1987 and 2012.

He remains a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Executive Council, a role he has held since 2002. 

The IOC intervention has thrust the OCA into crisis.

Sheikh Ahmad had self-suspended himself as an IOC member and stepped aside as President of the ANOC in November 2018 when he was originally charged with forgery, but he retained his position as head of the OCA until he was found guilty. 

He has appealed against the decision and is currently waiting to hear the result.

Sheikh Talal's victory had ensured that the House of Sabah retains control of the OCA.

The OCA was founded in 1982 by his father Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who led it until 1990 when he was killed defending Dasman Palace on the first day of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Sheikh Ahmad had been elected as his successor in 1991. 

The OCA have so far failed to respond to several requests for a comment.