Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa

Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa
سلمان بن ابراهيم آل خليفة

Al-Khalifa in a press conference in Tehran
President of AFC
Assumed office
2 May 2013
Preceded by Zhang Jilong
President of Bahrain Football Association
In office
2 October 2002  1 May 2013
Preceded by Abdulrahman Sayyar
Succeeded by Sheikh Ali Bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa
Personal details
Born Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa
(1965-11-02) 2 November 1965
Riffa, Bahrain
Nationality Bahraini
Spouse(s) Sheikha Nada (m. 1993)
Children 3
Relatives Ibraheem Al-Khalifa (Father)
Alma mater University of Bahrain
Occupation Football administrator
Religion Sunni Islam

Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (Arabic: سلمان بن ابراهيم آل خليفة; born 2 November 1965 in Riffa, Bahrain) is the President of the Asian Football Confederation since 2 May 2013. Before his election as the president of AFC, he was president of Bahrain Football Association[1] and also Chairman of the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee, and Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.[2] He is a member of the FIFA Council.


Sheikh Salman is a member of the House of Khalifa, the Royal Family of Bahrain. He is the second son of Sheikh Ibrahim bin Hamad al-Khalifa and Sheikha Aisha bint Salman al-Khalifa, daughter of Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa I, former ruler of Bahrain from 1942 until his death in 1961.

After moving to London to study accounting, Sheikh Salman dropped out of his studies and left in the mid 1980s, retreating back to Bahrain to work as a Customs Officer for a few years, before being handed the reins to a few family businesses which would be managed for him by others. This gave him the freedom to leave his job as a Customs Officer and go back to school.[3] He graduated from University of Bahrain in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in English Literature and History. Despite never playing football professionally,[4] Shaikh Salman has been involved in football for many years, dating back to the early 1980s when he played a few years in the system of the youth team of Bahrain Division I team, Riffa Club.[5]

Since leaving Riffa Club to focus on his academic studies, Sheikh Salman has held executive positions at the BFA. In 1996, he was appointed Chairman of the National Team, elected Vice President two years later and eventually became the Football Association’s president in 2002. He has also served as the Co-Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee at several FIFA Tournaments such as, the FIFA World Cups, FIFA Beach Tournaments, FIFA Club Championships, etc. He was also Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee at Beijing in 2008.[6] During an Asian Football Confederation congress held in Bahrain in 2008, Sheikh Salman was heavily criticized for silencing the South Korean Football Association who were protesting, refusing to allow any speakers to take the floor.[7]

Sheikh Salman was president of the Bahrain Football Association at time of the "golden era" of Bahraini football. The national team was a match away from qualifying to the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup. The team also managed to reach the 2004 Asian Cup Semi Final, the furthest the national team has ever reached in the continental championship. The national team FIFA ranking also reached its highest in the history of Bahraini Football, as it moved up to the 44th position.

On 15 October 2015, Sheikh Salman announced his candidature to become the next president of FIFA after the election of February 2016. At the beginning of his campaign he was very confident he would win the title, as the Asian Football Confederation, as well as CONMEBOL[8] and the Confederation of African Football had all agreed to both give him the lion's share of there votes which amounted to a clear win.[9][10] Highly regarded FIFA former secretary general Peter Velappan publicly lambasted Sheikh Salman as focusing too heavily on the Gulf States while ignoring Asia which composes most of the Asian Football Confederation: "Running Fifa is not a small job...I don’t think many people are happy with him (Sheikh Salman). He is the leader of the AFC but he has not been seen as doing enough for Asia".[11] His candidature was heavily broadsided due to criticism from a slew of human rights organizations, notably Human Rights Watch, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.[12] He was accused of “complicity in crimes against humanity” for allegedly heading a committee that identified 150 athletes, including international footballers, involved in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011, many of whom were later imprisoned and tortured.[13] One of the athletes who was rounded up was the top national goal scorer A'ala Hubail, who was interrogated on state television, and later on detained and tortured.[14] Sheikh Salman denied the allegations.[15] Damian Collins alleged before Parliament in the UK that Sheikh Salman had misused FIFA funds during his failed candidacy attempt in 2009 further destroying his already precarious reputation.[16] Despite spending an enormous amount on his campaign including a professional website befitting a political candidate, Sheikh Salman lost the candidacy to the underdog Swiss Gianni Infantino.[17][18]

Sheikh Salman has three children, two daughters Sheikha Latifa born in 1994 and Sheikha Aysha born in 1998, and a son Sheikh Isa born in 2001.[19]


  1.   Posted on » Monday, May 04, 2009 (2009-05-04). "Sports News » 'I don't want to be AFC head'". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
  2. Disciplinary Committee, FIFA.
  3. "Shaikh Salman, Asia's soft-spoken football strongman". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  4. "Africa: FIFA Presidency - No Love for Sexwale". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  5. "AFC President | AFC". Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  6. "Meet the Fifa presidential candidates: Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa | The National". Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  7. "Shaikh Salman, Asia's soft-spoken football strongman". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  8. "Fifa presidency: Sheikh Salman backed by African confederation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  9. "'Al-Khalifa confident of becoming FIFA president'". Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  10. "Sheikh Salman heavy favorite to win FIFA election Friday". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  11. "Sheikh Salman of Bahrain likely to put Asia's foot forward for Fifa presidency | The National". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  12. "Bahrain's Sheikh Salman Wins Key Fifa Role Despite Human Rights Abuse Claims". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  13. "Who is Sheikh Salman? Fifa presidential candidate accused of 'crimes against humanity'". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  14. Gibson, Owen (October 16, 2015). "Fifa candidate Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa is linked to Bahrain crackdown". The Guardian. UK: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  15. "Sheikh Salman formally submits candidature for Fifa presidency", 26 October 2015
  16. "Sheikh Al Khalifa denies British MP's allegations ahead of Fifa vote". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  17. Miller, Nick. "Fifa election: Gianni Infantino wins presidential election – as it happened". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  18. "Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa". Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  19. "Pressure Builds On Sheikh Salman to Respond to Human Rights Allegations". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
Civic offices
Preceded by
Abdulrahman Sayyar
President of Bahrain Football Association
Succeeded by
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa
Preceded by
Zhang Jilong
President of Asian Football Confederation
Succeeded by
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