Australian Player Challenges Bahraini AFC President over His Response to Al-Araib’s Arrest
2018-12-20 - 11:16 p
Bahrain Mirror: The Australian SBS website stated that Craig Foster, former Socceroo and current SBS commentator, has challenged the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to support Australian refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi or resign.
Foster on Monday called for AFC president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who is Bahraini, to publicly call for Al-Araibi's immediate return to Australia.
Foster said as president of the organisation the role carries "a non-negotiable obligation to do everything possible to uphold the human rights of all in football."
Mr. Foster has been advocating for Mr. Al-Araibi's release from Thai custody on behalf of the "Australian football family."
The former Australian international said if the president is unable to endorse the safe return of Al-Araibi to Australia, under the AFC Human Rights provisions, he should "immediately resign and allow the position to be conducted in accordance with its obligations under Article 3 of both the FIFA and AFC Statutes."
On December 7, football's governing body FIFA called for the return of Al-Araibi to Australia.
FIFA said it expects his case "to be solved in accordance with well-established international standards," and has asked Australian football officials to urgently "take the matter up with their government".
It comes after Al-Aaraibi asked FIFA president Gianni Infantino to help "save his life" via advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
Al-Araibi is well-known in Bahrain, having played for the national football side before playing for Victorian football clubs, including Pascoe Vale.