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Bahrain’s football federation head sidesteps rights abuse claims

Published: Updated:

The head of Bahrain’s football federation tells The Associated Press that allegations of footballers in his Gulf nation being detained and tortured during anti-government protests are not a matter for his organization.

Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, a member of the ruling family and who is bidding to become Asian Football Confederation president, distanced his federation from events during the Arab Spring-inspired uprising, which has left as many as 60 dead and thousands - including footballers - being detained. Some players claim to have been tortured.

Questioned by the AP, Sheik Salman responded: “Have they been treated ill because of their football reasons? We have to focus on what is the responsibility of the FA.”

He says the federation handles “football matters” but “political motivation, this is something different.”