By Duncan Mackay

Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah has been accused of abusing his Government position to help get him elected as President of the ISSF ©WikipediaA row has broken out on the eve of the election for President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) after Olegario Vázquez Raña's rival was accused of using his Government position in Kuwait to try to influence voters.

Officials representing Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah, Kuwait's Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, have allegedly been contacting Sports Ministers around the world on his behalf urging them to support his campaign. 

insidethegames has seen correspondence on official Kuwaiti Government headed notepaper sent to fellow Ministers asking them to support Sheikh Salman, President of the Asian Shooting Confederation (ASC), who is bidding to end Vázquez Raña's 34-year term as leader of the world governing body. 

One such letter was sent to Fikile Mbalula, South Africa's Minister of Sport and Recreation, and signed by Ahmad Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, chairman and director general of Kuwait's Public Authority for Youth and Sport.

Sheikh Salman, 54, has been vice-president of the ISSF since 2010 having been elected as a member of the Executive Committee four years earlier.

He has been President of the ASC since 2004. 

The election is due to take place tomorrow at the ISSF's General Assembly, which started today at the Hilton Park Hotel in Munich.

Critics have claimed that the letter from Sheikh Salman's Department to try to encourage Governments to get their National Federations to back his candidture compromises their independence and puts at risk their autonomy. 

Sports Ministers around the world have been contacted by a Kuwaiti Government department urging them to support Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Homoud Al-Sabah's candidature for the ISSF President ©ITGSports Ministers around the world have been contacted by a Kuwaiti Government department urging them to support Sheikh Salman's candidature for the ISSF President ©ITG

Vázquez Raña, 78, has been ISSF President since 1980 having previously represented Mexico in four Olympic Games at Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976. 

The multi-millionaire, chairman and principal shareholder of Grupo Empresarial Angeles, a company whose main interests are in hospitals, hotels and multi-media, has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1995. 

There are concerns over how the Kuwaiti would be able to balance his Presidential commitments with his Government roles in Kuwait. 

In 2013 Sheikh Salman had reportedly informed the ISSF that he planned to resign as a vice-president because he did not have time to balance the two commitments, although this resignation was not ultimately submitted.

In a letter published on the European Shooting Confederation website, ESC President Vladimir Lusin pointed this out, as well as the fact Sheikh Salman did not attend either this year's ISSF World Championships in Granada or the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Lusin described Sheikh Salman's decision to stand as a "big surprise for me and, I think, for many others", and promised that he plans to vote for Vázquez Raña.

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