Kyodo News reports that Chicago 2016 chairman Patrick Ryan, and Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah, a Kuwaiti member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and head of the Olympic Council of Asia, met on February 5 during Ryan’s visit to Kuwait City along with Robert Fasulo, chief of international relations at the U. S. Olympic Committee.
The move is reportedly thought to violate the IOC ethics code for Olympic bidders.
Kyodo reports that under regulations adopted following the Salt Lake City bid scandal when six IOC members were expelled, bid officials are barred from visiting IOC members and IOC members are forbidden to visit candidate cities.
In an interview with Kyodo News, Patrick Sandusky, vice president of communications for Chicago 2016, denied that the meeting was linked to Chicago’s 2016 bid. He said, “Mr. Ryan is the president of the Board of Northwestern University and he was on a delegation trip with the president of the university to open the Medill School of Journalism in Education City (in Qatar). He was also there to do some business for Aon, his company, but primarily was there to work with Qatar to open the centre and draw attention to the initiative that the Qataris are doing in the Education City.
“That’s why he was there for business and he did make his way, because he was in the region, to Kuwait, paying respects and talking about the Education City with the president of the university and the Sheikh. But nothing more than that. It was very much a casual meeting focused on education initiatives in the Middle East”.
According to Kyodo News Ahmad has admitted he met with Ryan and Fasulo whom he called his “good friends”.