PA Sport

Sheikh Salman says "closet is clear" despite human rights campaign group claim

Sheikh Salman says "closet is clear" despite human rights campaign group claim
By PA Sport

22/01/2016 at 13:25Updated 22/01/2016 at 13:32

A human rights campaign group has written to FIFA's sponsors raising questions over the candidacy of Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for the FIFA presidency.

Sheikh Salman, from Bahrain, is regarded as the favourite to succeed Sepp Blatter but the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has written to FIFA's eight top sponsors claiming he was "involved in the administration of politically motivated sanctions against footballers, athletes and clubs" in the country following the pro-democracy protests in 2011.

It claims Sheikh Salman was appointed to head an investigative committee mandated to identify and punish players who participated in the protests.

Sheikh Salman has denied that the committee ever met or took any decisions and insisted this week he has no "skeletons in the closet''.

He was cleared in November to stand in the election by FIFA's electoral committee, which said it had assessed the allegations carefully.

"When people talk about skeletons in the closet, my closet is clear,'' said the sheikh.

"Some people have an agenda but it's a waste of time trying to answer them, and I think it has already been done by the proper bodies within FIFA and the AFC.

"There has been an integrity check and I don't have anything to defend myself about.''