Football: Fifa presidential candidate Salman denies claims that he violated human rights

Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has dismissed accusations of human rights abuses.
Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has dismissed accusations of human rights abuses.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has dismissed accusations of human rights abuses during his time as Bahrain Football Association head as nasty lies.

The head of the Asian Football Confederation submitted his papers on Monday to stand in Fifa's Feb 26 election.

But his bid came amid an outcry from human rights groups who say that he, as head of the Bahrain Football Association and member of Bahrain's royal family, had local football players arrested, detained, abused, tortured and publicly humiliated during democracy protests in 2011.

Bahrain was swept by protests during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in which the Shi'ite majority demanded political reforms from the Sunni Muslim ruling family.

Salman faced the same accusations prior to his election as AFC president in 2013.

He reiterated his previous position on Tuesday that he was innocent.

"These are false, nasty lies that have been repeated again and again in the past and the present," he told BBC Sport.

"I cannot deny something that I haven't done. It's not just damaging me, it's damaging the people and the country."

The Bahraini, who is closely allied with Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most powerful men in international sports politics and a key figure in the Olympic movement, is one of eight candidates to head Fifa.