Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah is back as ASC President ©ISSF

Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, the official responsible for Kuwait's period of sporting exile, has returned to the Olympic Movement after regaining his position as President of the Asian Shooting Confederation (ASC).

Sheikh Salman, accused of illegally using his Government position to lobby voters in the 2014 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Presidential election, was elected unopposed at the ASC General Assembly in Doha.

The controversial Kuwaiti official, who stepped down as ASC President in November 2015, will serve a four-year term through to 2023.

It marks a sensational comeback after he plunged Kuwait into sporting crisis during his period as Sports Minister of the country, which came to an end in February 2017.

Sheikh Salman resigned just two days before he was due to face a Parliamentary vote of no confidence.

His last major role in sport was President of the Kuwait Football Association, a position he left in March 2017.

Sheikh Salman, a cousin of influential powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, was behind a law which granted the Sports Ministry the power to take over all sports bodies and National Federations, as well as being able to control decisions including appointments and financial matters.

Numerous organisations in the Olympic Movement believed this represented undue Government influence in the autonomy of sport.

The law prompted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a host of other bodies to suspend Kuwait - a decision which meant athletes from the nation could not compete at sporting events under their own flag.

Kuwait were forced to compete as neutrals at Rio 2016 because of the IOC suspension ©Getty Images
Kuwait were forced to compete as neutrals at Rio 2016 because of the IOC suspension ©Getty Images

Kuwait competitors participated as neutrals and under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because of the ban.

Other organisations which suspended Kuwait as a direct result of Sheikh Salman's law included FIFA, the International Swimming Federation and the ISSF.

The Kuwait Olympic Committee was only reinstated by the IOC in July of this year, ending a near four-year period in the sporting wilderness.

The ISSF lifted its own suspension on Kuwait in April 2017.

Sheikh Salman stood unsuccessfully against Olegario Vazquez Raña in the ISSF Presidential election in November 2014.

insidethegames exclusively reported on the eve of the vote that he had allegedly been using his Government position to illegally lobby voters.

His representatives had allegedly contacted Sports Ministers around the world on his behalf urging them to support his campaign. 

Sheikh Salman blamed his defeat on Sheikh Ahmad, despite the allegations.

His election as head of one of the ISSF's most influential and largest confederations could feasibly be the platform for another attempt at the ISSF Presidency.

Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin was elected ISSF President last November to replace Mexico's Vazquez Raña, whose tenure at the helm lasted 38 years.

In response to Sheikh Salman's election, ISSF secretary general Alexander Ratner told insidethegames: "Each Continental Confederation holds elections of its leadership independently and according to its constitution.

"The ISSF does not interfere in those processes and will collaborate with the newly elected leadership of the ASC on the principles of unity and mutual respect, same as with the other Continental Confederations, for the benefit of the shooting sport, its development and popularisation."