ZURICH: FIFA has called on the Thai authorities to release the former Bahraini footballer Hakeem AlAraibi who is currently being detained pending an extradition request even though he has been formally declared to hold refugee status in Australia.

A FIFA spokesperson said:

FIFA has become aware of the urgent situation with regard to Mr. Al-Araibi, a football player in Australia who is currently being held in Thailand, facing possible extradition to Bahrain, where it is alleged his safety may be seriously at risk.

In view of the potential gravity of the situation, FIFA has written to the Australian FA requesting that they take the matter up with their government, as a matter of urgency.  

FIFA is committed to the respect of internationally recognized human rights, in particular, as these rights relate to the safety and wellbeing of all individuals involved in football. 

FIFA expects the situation of Mr. Al-Araibi to be solved in accordance with well-established international standards.

In that respect, FIFA supports the calls for the Thai authorities to allow Mr. Al-Arabi to return to Australia where he currently enjoys refugee status at the earliest possible moment.