Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) has called on FIFA, the AFC and the IOC to consider sporting sanctions against Thailand and Bahrain following the outcome of today’s court hearing for detained footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi in Bangkok.

Al-Araibi now faces a further 60 days in a Thai jail after his extradition hearing; his local legal representation having until 5 April to file a written appeal before Al-Araibi’s next scheduled court hearing on 22 April.

The PFA continues to support the efforts of PFA Life Member and former Socceroo Captain Craig Foster and FIFPro Vice President Francis Awaritefe who are driving awareness on the ground in Bangkok. 

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica said sports governing bodies must immediately intervene in order to fulfil their fundamental human rights obligations to Hakeem.

“Hakeem’s detention is a flagrant breach of his internationally accepted human rights as an Australian permanent resident and refugee. He is an innocent young man being held illegally – in shackles – in a foreign country,” said Didulica.

“The only reason Hakeem hasn’t already been extradited to Bahrain is the unified international campaign that has been driven by the global football community. With today’s outcome, this campaign needs to be amplified.

“Over the weekend, we saw Australia’s footballers, clubs, fans and referees make a commitment to saving Hakeem. Global stars from the Premier League such as Didier Drogba and Jamie Vardy have also made this commitment.

“The next step is for the sporting community to call on FIFA, the AFC and the IOC to consider sanctions against Bahrain and Thailand.

“You cannot have the privileges of the international community if you are not prepared to live by its rules or behave by its standards. Seeking the refoulment of a refugee is a clear repudiation of Bahrain’s obligations as a member of the international community.”