FIFA Says It is in Regular Contact with AFC over Al-Araibi’s Case
2019-01-18 - 2:02 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): FIFA said it has been in regular contact with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) over the Bahraini footballer arrested in Thailand in November over a prison sentence in his homeland, Reuters reported.
The Australian soccer players' union this week called on the AFC to intervene to help secure the release of Hakeem Al-Araibi, who plays in Australia but was arrested in November in Bangkok on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain's request.
Fifa has "been working behind the scenes and have been in regular contact with our national associations and with the AFC about this case", a spokesman said late on Tuesday.
Last week, it said Al-Araibi should be freed and allowed to return to Australia to continue his career.
The AFC has said it was working with groups including FIFA, but declined to comment further.
Al-Araibi, who played for Bahrain's national soccer team had been convicted of vandalising a police station and sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.
He denies wrongdoing. However, the Bahrain government says Al-Araibi can appeal against the sentence if he returns to the kingdom.
Al-Araibi was a vocal critic of AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's ruling family and cousin of the king, when he contested the FIFA presidential election in 2015.