Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman hits out at rights abuse claims ahead of FIFA elections - Gulf Business
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Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman hits out at rights abuse claims ahead of FIFA elections

Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman hits out at rights abuse claims ahead of FIFA elections

Human rights groups have accused Sheikh Salman for not protecting athletes and other football players who participated in the anti-government protests

Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has hit out at what he terms “nasty lies” about his actions during his tenure as the head of Bahrain Football Association.

The FIFA presidential candidate was accused by human rights groups of being complicit in the detention and torture of football players and other athletes who took part in Bahrain’s anit-government uprisings in 2011.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Sheikh Salman strongly denied such charges saying: “I cannot deny something that I haven’t done. Such accusations are not just damaging, it’s really hurting. Some people have agenda on their table.”

Many rights groups claim that he helped identify the players involved in the protests to the government and failed to protect them. But Sheikh Salman reiterated that they are just nasty lies.

“It’s not just damaging me, it’s damaging the people and the country. These are false, nasty lies that have been repeated again and again in the past and the present.”

Sheikh Salman, who currently holds the post of the president of Asian Football Confederation, is counting on the support of its members in FIFA’s presidential elections. He is among the eight candidates contesting for the post of FIFA’s president.

If elected, he has promised to back Russia and Qatar’s bid to hold the World Cup tournaments in in 2018 and 2022 respectively. But both bids are under investigation by authorities looking into claims of the host country bribing FIFA officials for a favourable outcome.

Sheikh Salman has also vowed to correct the football governing agency’s image, which has been sullied by allegations of corruption among its ranks.

“With the support I’m going to get we’re going to turn it around very quick.”

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