Football Victoria (FV) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) have announced that Australian footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi’s role as FV’s Community and Human Rights Advocate has been confirmed as a permanent full-time position.

FV CEO Peter Filopoulos and PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said Hakeem’s work inspiring Victoria’s diverse football communities had been so successful, it was fitting to confirm the role to deliver even more positive impact.

Earlier this year, al-Araibi was released from a Thailand prison after being unlawfully detained for more than 70 days. His human rights story captured attention in Australia and around the world, leading to his eventual release in February and Australian citizenship in March.

Since then, al-Araibi, 25, has represented FV at community football clubs, gala days, youth events and multicultural football tournaments in Victoria and interstate. An example of his impact can be seen here in a recent ABC TV News story from the Limestone Coast Multicultural Soccer Carnival in Naracoorte, South Australia.

“I am very proud and happy to be able to work in the Victorian and Australian football communities full-time to share my story. I want people to continue to play football because it’s a very important part of the community and our lives,” Mr al-Araibi said.

“Hakeem’s story shows the true power and positive impact football can have both here and around the world. His strength and resilience make him truly an inspirational person and emerging young leader,” Mr Filopoulos said.

“We are very proud to continue to work with Football Victoria to ensure Hakeem’s ongoing employment. Hakeem’s campaign was a great demonstration of the power of the game united, so to be able to continue to work with Hakeem and our colleagues within the football family at FV is genuinely important and of great benefit to so many young players,” Mr Didulica concluded.