New FIFA poll push for Shaikh Salman

New FIFA poll push for Shaikh Salman
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Published February 9th, 2016 - 17:36 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa arrives to watch the AFC U23 Championship final football match between Japan and South Korea at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha on January 30, 2016.
AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa arrives to watch the AFC U23 Championship final football match between Japan and South Korea at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha on January 30, 2016.

Ten Arab and international human rights organisations have launched a campaign in support of a Bahraini official in his bid to become Fifa president.

The ‘Yes to Shaikh Salman’ drive supports Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa who hopes to succeed Sepp Blatter as head of the world football’s governing body.

The campaigners have brought out a poster with the slogan which they aim to popularise through social media until the day of the election. The vote is scheduled to take place on February 26 in Zurich, Switzerland, where Fifa is headquartered.

The campaign follows accusations against Shaikh Salman by local and international media and opposition groups in Bahrain. He has been accused of overseeing a committee which targeted Bahraini footballers and athletes who took part in anti-government protests in 2011.

Shaikh Salman, in an interview to Sky Sports television last month, denied this, saying that he can guarantee “one million per cent” that no Bahraini footballers or athletes were targeted. The non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in a joint statement, endorsed Shaikh Salman’s “clean record”.

“As a regional and international human rights organisation, signing a campaign to support Shaikh Salman is based on the fact that we are convinced of his efficiency,” Arab Alliance for Arab Human Rights Court president Dr Mosab Al Noaimi told the GDN.

“His history is clean and he’s proven himself to be effective politically and has also proved his passion for Asian and Arab football. “He has also proven his transparency internationally and as for the allegations of issues within Bahrain, there is no truth to them. “When someone alleges something, there has to be proof, which is lacking. We deal with NGOs in Bahrain whom we trust and we know that there is nothing negative about Shaikh Salman,” said Dr Al Noaimi.

Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) secretary general Faisal Fulad slammed “misleading” Western media campaigns against Shaikh Salman.

“There is no proof to the claims of the opposition in Bahrain, which are picked by the Western media and they are writing about it which is misleading,” he said. Misleading “As for issues in Bahrain in 2011, we have the Bassiouni Report (Bahrain Independent Commission for Inquiry) which has recorded facts about what had happened.

“This report has been unbiased and did not spare anyone, including high ranking officials and not anywhere in the report do we see any reference to Shaikh Salman. “Is this not proof enough which exposes the opposition’s targeted campaign against him?” he asked.

“We, as human rights NGOs in the region, have initiated this campaign because we are convinced of Shaikh Salman’s integrity.

“He has also proven his efficiency in the sports field, where he has shown that sports unites people, without discrimination. “This makes him eligible to contest the Fifa presidency and we believe that he will be able to empower youth in the region and Bahrain through bonds of friendship, peace and co-existence.”

The NGOs backing the campaign are Arab Institute for Human Rights (Tunisia), Gulf European Centre for Human Rights (London), Universal Message of Human Rights Organisation (Ireland), the Arab Alliance for Arab Human Rights Court (London), Yemeni Coalition for Human Rights (Yemen), International Association for Rights and Freedom (London) and the Gulf Association for Rights and Freedom (Kuwait) along with Bahrain-based NGOs BHRWS, Al Karama Society and Bahrain Free Labour Union Federation (BFLUF).

As Asian Football Confederation president, Shaikh Salman can count on the votes of the vast majority of Asia’s 46 Fifa members. He is also likely to receive many of Africa’s 54 votes, with the Confederation of African Football announcing its support to him.

Copyright 2015 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group

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