Prince Ali claims FIFA rival Sheikh Salman failed to protect imprisoned players

Baku, February 11, AZERTAC

The contest for the FIFA presidency has taken on a personal edge after the favourite was accused by one of his rivals of failing to protect players, according to the Daily Mail.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pointed the finger at his rival candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, the head of Asian football, over allegations from human rights groups.

He has denied any involvement but Prince Ali told a news conference in Geneva: "The simple, basic fact of the matter is that person did not protect or stick up for his players at that time."

Prince Ali's comments will intensify the rivalry ahead of the election of Sepp Blatter's successor on February 26. Three other candidates, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, France's Jerome Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa are also standing.

Prince Ali insisted he was a genuinely independent candidate who would ensure that FIFA had the proper reforms.

He added: "This election will determine whether a small group of powerful individuals will hold FIFA hostage."

The prince said if elected he would contact the US and Swiss attorney generals to offer the world governing body's full co-operation into their investigations into FIFA-related corruption.

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