Pro-Salman supporters greet delegates at FIFA Congress

Supporters of FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain show support outside the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - A group of about 50 supporters of Bahraini Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa's bid to be elected FIFA president lined the road as delegates arrived before casting their votes in Zurich for new leader of world soccer on Friday.

Holding banners proclaiming "FIFA Will Be Safe With Salman" and "Support The Clean Man" they said Sheikh Salman was the right man to lead the troubled governing body into a new era following the end of Sepp Blatter's near 18-year reign.

Human rights groups have accused him of heading a committee that identified athletes, including international Bahraini footballers, involved in the Arab Spring demonstrations in 2011, many of whom were later imprisoned. He has vehemently denied involvement in any wrongdoing.

"Everyone has a different perspective of what happened, but we feel he is a clean man and he can make a difference for FIFA," one of the crowd, 25-year-old businessman Mohamed Al Shaman, told Reuters.

Salman, 50, president of the Asian Football Confederation, faces Swiss Gianni Infantino, Jordanian Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and South African Tokyo Sexwale in the vote.

(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Alison Williams)

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