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Football Victoria Urges 350,000 Members to Contact Australian government to Demand Al-Araibi’s Release

2018-12-27 - 12:21 am

Bahrain Mirror: The Australian SBS website stated that Football Victoria has urged its 350,000 members to get in contact with Australian government officials to call for the release of Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Football Victoria chief executive Peter Filopoulos described Mr Al-Araibi's case as "tragic," saying more action is needed to secure his release.

"It is a tragic case and we need to do as much as we can as a football community to bring it back home," he said in a video posted on social media.

"Hakeem is a member of a strong football community and we want to do as much as we can to help Hakeem.

"Bring him back to Victoria, Australia so he can resume the life he has chosen to live here in Australia, where he plays in for one our second-tier clubs in the National Premier League in Pascoe Vale.

"We are very much in support and we are asking all our 350,000 footballers to make contact with government officials in support of Hakeem's plight, and also to amplify messages of support as widely as they can."

Prominent members of the football community have already voiced their support for Al-Araibi, including former Socceroo Craig Foster and player Rodrigo Vargas.

Foster said supporters of Mr Al-Araibi will "not accept inaction".

"Time of thanksgiving, hope. Where's Hakeem's hope? AFC President/FIFA VP is silent on human rights. What's more valuable, a boy's life or politics? How's FIFA holding AFC accountable? Hakeem's part of our family. We do not accept inaction," he commented in a tweet on his Twitter account.

World football governing body FIFA has also backed calls for the footballer's release, but the Asian Football Confederation has made no commitment beyond monitoring the situation. 

It is to mention that the head of the AFC, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, is a member of Bahrain's ruling family and a former president of the Bahrain Football Association.

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