By Tom Degun at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London

Sheikh Ahmad_Al-Fahad_Al-Sabah_with_Mario_Vasquez_RanaFebruary 20 - Kuwait's Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has been lined up to replace Mexico's Mario Vázquez Raña as the National Olympic Committees (ANOC) President with Ireland's Patrick Hickey set to take his seat on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board.

The transfer of power from the influential Raña to Sheikh Ahmad and Hickey was top of the agenda at the highly contentious 53rd ANOC Executive Council Meeting here, which was marred with arguments breaking out amongst several influential figures during the meeting.

Raña, who is also President of the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO), turns 80 this year and must therefore step down from the IOC and vacate his seat on the Executive Board.

Hickey, the President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and vice-president of ANOC for Europe, has a fractured relationship with Raña but was last year nominated to replace the Mexican billionaire on the IOC Executive Board in a move set to be confirmed at the ANOC General Assembly in Moscow in April then rubber-stamped in July with a vote at the IOC Session in London.

Sheikh Ahmad, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President as well as the vice-president of ANOC for Europe, has carefully manoeuvred himself to take over from Raña as the ANOC President when the Mexican vacates that particular position in 2014.

The 50-year-old Sheikh Ahmad has been an IOC member since 1992 and is widely regarded as one of the more influential.

He is a member of the ruling family of Kuwait as well as the Minister of National Security in the oil-rich Arab state, having previously been the Minister of Energy and chairman of OPEC, the global organisation dedicated to stability in and shared control of the petroleum markets.

Sheikh Ahmad has kept his ambitions of becoming ANOC President very quiet for a long time as he watched events regarding Raña unfold but he has now moved strategically for the prestigious position with the Mexican having faced increasingly vocal opposition in the last year.

The issue of Raña relinquishing his powerbase caused more problems than expected at the ANOC Executive Council Meeting here today with Sweden's Gunilla Lindberg, the secretary general of ANOC, appearing on edge at the conclusion of discussions and refusing to speak with members of the media.

British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan, who is also President of the ANOC Special Commission, was another present at the meeting and claimed that the issue of illegal betting at the Olympic Games was one of the main topics on the agenda.

"Betting was discussed in some detail," Moynihan told insidethegames following the conclusion of the meeting.

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