FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Friday expressed joy over refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi’s return to Australia after a two-month ordeal saw him jailed in Thailand and threatened with a forced return to his native Bahrain.
“I’m very happy and everyone at FIFA is very happy that he was let go to go back to Australia,” Infantino told a news conference in Istanbul.
Araibi made a triumphant return to Australia Tuesday after he was detained on November 27 while on honeymoon at the request of Bahraini authorities who accuse him of offences linked to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
The footballer rejected the accusations and the claims that he was prosecuted for his political opinion.
His detention sparked a worldwide outcry with international organisations including FIFA campaigning for his release but the Asian Football Federation has been blamed for its silence.
“The position of FIFA was always very clear and my position was very clear as well,” Infantino said.
“We have been working for this solution through official channels and as well behind the scenes,” he added.
“I prefer to have results than making big statements. We know about our responsibilities and mission. We try to do our best and today I think we can celebrate the fact that everything ended in a very positive way.” (AFP)
– Feb. 15, 2019 @ 18:55 GMT |