Fahim Hashimy still believes he is the rightful President of A-NOC ©A-NOC

Conflict over who is in control of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee (A-NOC) has reached a fresh deadlock after a Commission set-up by the country's President Ashraf Ghani ruled that Fahim Hashimy remains the rightful head of the body. 

This is, despite former President Zahir Aghbar being re-elected to the post during last September's Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly in Ashgabat in a ballot approved at the time by both the OCA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Hashimy, who assumed his post in 2014, had announced his resignation days before the vote in the Turkmentistan capital as conflict escalated, but slammed the election of Aghbar as illegal and void because those present were "not legitimate" representatives of the National Federations.

Statutory obligations to wait 21 days after a resignation to have an election had also not been met, he claimed.

After a demonstration led by athletes, Ghani appointed a Commission to "survey and resolve" the problem and dispute. 

"After the research and survey of the Afghanistan Government, they have declared that Mohammad Fahim Hashimy is the lawful President and Mahmod Hanif is the secretary general," A-NOC claimed in a letter sent to the IOC and OCA on December 30, and obtained by insidethegames.

A letter has been sent to the organisers of the South Asian Games, as well as the IOC and OCA about the latest developments ©ITG
A letter has been sent to the organisers of the South Asian Games, as well as the IOC and OCA about the latest developments ©ITG

The OCA have confirmed to insidethegames that, as it stands, they still recognise Aghbar as President.

However, Asian Games Department director Haider Farman added that they will "study and consult the situation with IOC very closely to face this new turmoil".

The IOC told insidethegames that, "in principal, nothing has changed from our previous position", but they are due to hold consultations following the latest developments.

Twenty-three Federations have signed a letter pledging support for Hashimy, including bodies representing basketball, cycling, handball, hockey and volleyball. 

Crucially, however, other bodies remain opposed, including the Afghanistan Football Federation headed by Karim Keramuddin.

Karim, a key ally of Aghbar and longstanding opponent of Hashimy, is also thought to be close to OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, so has a strong interest in building a football power-base.

Hashimy, the 35-year-old businessmen who owns private television network 1TV, claims the OCA and IOC are yet to reply to the latest letter sent by A-NOC, and that they have not responded to any correspondence since the disputed election in Ashgabat.

Unlike in other countries where there have been disputes - such as Kuwait, which was suspended by the IOC last year, and others such as Mexico, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - the IOC have not publicly threatened to ban the country from the Olympics if problems are not resolved. 

Hashimy claims that sporting officials are not interesting in following statutes and the legal process and are only interested is consolidating personal relations with chosen individuals, citing the recent problems in FIFA as evidence of this perceived cronyism.

"When I was elected President, I made the mistake of being too honest," he told insidethegames today.

"I tried to be legitimate and follow the rules rather than pleasing the Sheikh [Ahmad].

"I wasn't aware of how it really worked."

One of two pages listing Federations in support of Fahim Hashimy ©ITG
One of two pages listing Federations in support of Fahim Hashimy ©ITG

Next month's South Asian Games in the Indian cities of Guwahati and Shillong have provided a latest battlefield, with Hashimy claiming the event is being used as leverage to force Federations to support Aghbar, by risking not being able to otherwise compete. 

The situation is also harming preparations for August's Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where taekwondo player Rohullah Nikpai won a second straight bronze medal.

"It's a disaster and a big loss," Hashimy told insidethegames.

"It is hard to prepare when the federations are divided and we have had to downscale our preparations."