Football’s world governing body, FIFA, will elect a new president in February 2016, but the successful candidate will inherit an organisation in crisis, engulfed by claims of widespread corruption.
Suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter was in power for 17 years before wrongdoing was finally exposed.
The dramatic dawn arrests of FIFA executives in Zurich before the FIFA Congress in May was the beginning of the end for the old corrupt regime.
Bahraini royal Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa is one of the new faces on the FIFA executive committee. For two years he has also served as head of the powerful Asian Football Confederation.
Sheikh Salman is considered the favourite to ascend to the governing body’s top role. He is drawing support from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, so there is a high chance for him to become FIFA’s first Asian president in the February election.
But his own background has been questioned – with allegations of being complicit on the detaining and torture of Bahraini athletes after the country’s anti-government protests in 2011.
In February 2011, one of Bahrain’s most well-known football players, Alaa Hubail, joined anti-government protesters at a rally in which he expressed his unhappiness with the country’s security forces.
In April that year he and his brother were arrested and, they allege, subsequently interrogated and beaten up. Around the same time, the government announced the formation of a committee to investigate the activities of athletes who broke the law. The head of the committee was allegedly Sheikh Salman.
So, what is behind these allegations? Will Sheikh Salman become FIFA’s new president? And what does this mean for the future of the organisation and football?
On Talk to Al Jazeera, Sheikh Salman responds to torture allegations, discusses the challenges facing the FIFA, and tells us why he thinks he is the only man able to clean up FIFA.
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