Football

Fifa presidential candidate accused of 'crimes against humanity'

Controversy continues to plague the embattled world governing body of football, Fifa.

One of the candidates vying to lead Fifa in next February's elections, Sheikh Salman Ebrahim al-Khalifa, is being accused of "crimes against humanity", the BBC reported.

The long-serving Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been suspended by Fifa for 90 days as investigations into corruption while he was leading Fifa gets underway.

But the handful of candidates looking to replace him also come with their own baggage, it seems.

Sheikh Salman, the 49-year-old president of the Asian Football Confederation, told BBC Sport: "I cannot deny something I haven't done. Such accusations are not just damaging, it's really hurting. Some people have agenda on their table."

Many were killed in 2011 when Bahraini security forces put down mass Shia-led protests calling for reforms.

However, rights groups are saying that the member of the Bahrain Royal Family had helped identify players involved in the protest and failed to protect them from abuses.

Sheikh Salman had pledged to clean up Fifa's torn up reputation after the cases of corruption with alleged use of bribery, fraud and money laundering early this year came into light, resulting in several high-ranking Fifa officials being arrested just before the start of the 65th FIFA Congress.

AFC President Sheikh Salman at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2013. He is bididng for FIFA presidency but  is currently facing accusations of the detention and torture of footballers and other athletes.  PHOTO: REUTERS/BAZUKI MUHAMMAD

Another presidential candidate, current UEFA president Michel Platini, has also been marred in corruption scandals.

The Frenchman has also been suspended for 90 days over allegations that he received a $2 million payment from Fifa in 2011 without a written contract.

Platini, who has been a member of Fifa's executive committee since 2002, strongly denied the allegations.

His representatives revealed on Oct 26 that Platini has had a first procedural appeal against his suspension rejected. However, he is still running for president, according to the Guardian.

UEFA President Michel Platini during a press conference prior to the 65th FIFA Congress. Representatives of the UEFA president revealed on Oct 26 that Platini has had a first procedural appeal against a 90-day ban from all footballing activities rejected. PHOTO: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI

According to BBC, the FBI has been investigating all allegations of Fifa corruption for the past three years -  including the organisation of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the bidding processes for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the controversial choice of Qatar to host the 2022 tournament with bribed votes.

A total of 14 former Fifa officials and executives have already been indicted by the US Department of Justice on charges of "rampant, systemic and deep-rooted" corruption, involving "at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks".

Sources: BBC, The Guardian, US Department of Justice

UncategorisedSepp Blattermichel platinififaUefaFootballmiddle east