Macau should be granted membership, says council

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am

The Olympic Council of Asia is to step up its efforts to help Macau become a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Speaking at a press conference at the Macau East Asian Games Dome yesterday, the council's president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said there was no reason why Macau should not be admitted into the Olympic family.

The fact that Hong Kong has retained its IOC status since the change of soverignty in 1997 - and that the four national football associations within the United Kingdom compete separately under Fifa - strengthens Macau's case, said the Kuwaiti.

'I have supported Macau for the past six or seven years and I believe that, after the experience of Hong Kong, there is no reason to refuse Macau,' he said. 'Before, when Juan Antonio Samaranch was IOC president, he had his own logic and ideas, but now, with Jacques Rogge, we have to take it up again.

'The experience of Hong Kong now as a member of the Olympic movement should give the right to Macau too. Fifa has four members from the UK, and there is a similar case with Macau and the IOC.'

Sheikh Ahmad, who has been an IOC member since 1992, arrived in Macau on Tuesday, and left by private jet yesterday evening for council business in Guangzhou.

He toured many of the venues to be used for the fourth East Asian Games from October 29 to November 6, for the AcolopGames for Portuguese-speaking National Olympic Committees in 2006 and for the second Asian Indoor Games in 2007.

'Macau is a very beautiful sports city and can host any kind of sports event or competition to a high standard,' he said.