A 2004 award from FIFA as the year’s most improved team let Bahrain bask in all the attention that it’s performances brought to the continent. Less than a decade later, the Bahraini national team maintains its distinct characteristic but at huge costs and behind all of them, so as to speak, is Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Underneath all his football specific fabulousness remains a man, who had been engulfed in accusations of orchestrating a systematic cleansing of players and officials, inclusive of arrests, detention, abuse, torture and public humiliation.
The controversial head of Asian football was recently selected to head a group of executives to evaluate whether FIFA should consider moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter.
No disrespect but with everything related to Bahrain hovering over him and critics (which by the way is most of the football community) gliding effortlessly like vultures to find an opportunity, I am not too sure if he would be the right person to head this “fact finding mission”.
Not that Bahrain is any better in the latest issue that Qatar is embroiled in; that aside, too often Sheikh Salman could sound talking as if he protected the entire region from a falling sky, but that’s not true. Despite the accusations, there could be no better person who could represent the region in this study. Moreover, he truly understands the sport from an administrative perspective having being served in the Disciplinary Committee at several FIFA tournaments.
Of course, the quest to have a person clean of any wrongdoings loom would have been ideal, it only clarifies, yet again, FIFA’s (top executives) inability and lack of knowledge to deal with the circumstances surrounding this region.
Well, this committee is expected to discuss the issue with various stakeholders including the top leagues, players, medical experts and the governing bodies’ business partners including major broadcaster – Fox Sports.