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FIFA rejects Musa Bility for presidential election

Liberia FA chairman Musa Bility
Image: Liberia FA chairman Musa Bility has been ruled out of the FIFA presidential election

FIFA has turned down the candidature of Musa Bility for the presidential election following integrity checks into his conduct.

Bility, the president of the Liberian Football Association, had been expected to stand at the FIFA presidential election on February 26. 

That was despite him not receiving the backing of the Confederation of African Football, which declined to support the 48-year-old in his bid to replace outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

But on Thursday, FIFA's electoral committee confirmed Bility had not passed an integrity check and would not be eligible to run in the election. The reasons for his exclusion have not been made public.

The decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has passed the checks, despite claims from human rights groups he was involved in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in his home country Bahrain.

Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa  is expected to stand for the FIFA presidency
Image: Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa cleared to stand for FIFA presidency

The decision has brought condemnation from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy which says allowing Sheikh Salman to run has exposed FIFA integrity checks as a farce.

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In a statement it said: "The FIFA Electoral Committee has accepted Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa as a candidate for presidency, following an integrity check conducted by the FIFA Ethics Committee, despite credible evidence that Sheikh took part in serious human rights abuses.

"BIRD and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain are shocked and condemn the decision that has severely undermined any remaining trust in FIFA and the Ethics Committee integrity checks.

"On 3 November, the BIRD and ADHRB submitted evidence to the FIFA Ethics Committee presenting our concerns and evidence of Sheikh Salman's involvement in human rights violations in Bahrain, during his tenure as president of the Bahrain Football Association.

"This followed complaints submitted to FIFA in January 2014 regarding Sheikh Salman's role in the targeting and identification of footballers in Bahrain who took part in anti-government protests and later arrested and tortured."

UEFA president Michel Platini
Image: Platini currently suspended for 90 days pending ethics committee hearing

The other candidates cleared to stand are Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, former FIFA official Jerome Champagne from France, UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino from Switzerland and Tokyo Sexwale, the former anti-apartheid activist from South Africa.

The electoral committee will not carry out integrity checks on UEFA president Michel Platini, who is currently suspended for 90 days pending an ethics committee hearing into a £1.3m payment he received from FIFA in 2011, until the disciplinary process is complete.

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