FIFA presidential candidate denies torturing footballers

Manama, Oct 27 (IANS) FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain on Tuesday said the allegations that he was involved in torturing footballers are all “lies”.

A Bahraini human rights group has charged Salman, a Bahraini royal, of identifying players and athletes who were involved in protests in 2011. He was at the helm of the Bahrain Football Association when security forces killed, arrested and tortured people calling for political reforms, BBC reported.

“I cannot deny something that I haven’t done,” the 49-year-old said.

“Such accusations are not just damaging, it’s really hurting. Some people have agenda on their table. 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,” he said.

President of the Asian Football Confederation since 2013, Salman has said that he would restore FIFA’s tarnished image following a series of corruption charges which started in May with arrests of seven top officials.

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

“We have big examples of football organisations around the world — the Premier League, the Bundesliga, even UEFA who have from a football side and a revenue side, it is not even greater than FIFA, But it is handled in a very professional way. And this is what we want to bring to FIFA.”

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