FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa has responded to accusations from human rights groups, labelling them “nasty lies”.
The Asian Football Confederation president formally entered the race to replace outgoing FIFA chief Sepp Blatter ahead of Monday’s deadline for submissions.
The 49-year-old is a member of Bahrain’s royal family, who have been regularly criticised by human rights groups for the oppression of pro-democratic demonstrations and alleged use of torture.
On Monday, Human Rights Watch warned that Sheikh Salman cannot be viewed as the unifying figure to steer FIFA through its latest troubled period.
He has, however, refuted being complicit in any such activities.
“I cannot deny something that I haven’t done,” Sheikh Salman told BBC Sport.
“Such accusations are not just damaging, it’s really hurting. Some people have an agenda on their table.
“It’s not just damaging me, it’s damaging the people and the country.
“These are false, nasty lies that have been repeated again and again in the past and the present.”
The elections are scheduled to take place on Febraury 26.