KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Asia’s football chief and FIFA’s second-in-command Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa received a fresh, four-year term on Saturday, triggering complaints from campaigners who said regional soccer was in ‘‘crisis’’ over human rights.
The Bahraini royal, who was standing unopposed for the second straight occasion, was elected in his absence at the Asian Football Confederation Congress in Kuala Lumpur, which he skipped following the death of his mother on Wednesday.
Sheikh Salman was criticised by rights groups this year for his silence over the case of Bahraini refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who was detained in Thailand and threatened with extradition to Bahrain.
Araibi, who was released following an international outcry, believes he was targeted for claiming Sheikh Salman was involved in a crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011 which included the arrest and alleged torture of footballers.
The former Bahrain FA chief has long refuted the accusation, which was aired when he first came to power at the AFC in a landslide election in 2013.