Bahrain officials and media on Saturday praised Sheikh Salman bin Embrahim Al Khalifa despite his defeat in the FIFA presidential race to Gianno Infantino, saying that he had fought an "honourable" campaign.
The head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), who had been aiming to become FIFA's first Asian leader, lost in the second round of voting in Zurich to the Swiss-Italian backed by European governing body UEFA.
"This honourable participation deserves congratulations, even if it has not culminated in a victory," said Bahrain's Prime minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa in a statement.
"This has revealed the confidence that Bahrain enjoys among international federations," he added.
Infantino got 115 votes in the election's second round Sheikh Salman got 88. They were just three votes apart in the first round.
"Thank you Salman, you've done more than enough," headlined Al-Ayam daily, adding that his participation was an "honour for Bahrain and the Arabs."
"Salman won the votes of 88 football federation. This by itself is a great achievement," wrote Mohammed Jumaa in an editorial in Bahraini daily Akhbar al-Khaleej.
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