GENEVA --

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan has questioned the role of election rival Sheikh Salman in alleged abuses of Bahrain players in 2011.

Sheikh Salman has become front-runner in a FIFA campaign he began by strongly denying any part in helping to identify athletes who took part in Arab Spring protests five years ago.

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Some Bahrain team players alleged torture by government forces while detained for attending pro-democracy events.

Then, Sheikh Salman was president of the Bahrain Football Association.

Prince Ali told reporters, when asked about Sheikh Salman, ''that person didn't protect or stick up for his players at that time.''

The prince says it's a ''simple, basic fact of the matter.''

FIFA's election committee approved Sheikh Salman's candidacy in the Feb. 26 ballot despite the claims.