FFA cancel training camp in Thailand amid Hakeem Al-Araibi detention

Comments()
The governing body were forced into action after the camp's details were revealed

Football Federation Australia has cancelled a training camp for the Olyroos in Thailand amid the ongoing detention of refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi in the south-east Asian country.

In a memo sent to A-League clubs on Sunday, the governing body listed the key dates for the Australian under-23 team, which includes a week-long camp in Bangkok commencing on March 11.

However, the FFA sent out a press release on Monday morning scrapping the training camp because of the political situation with Al-Araibi.

"Last year, the National Team Department had put some preliminary plans in place to play against China in Bangkok as part of our important preparation for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers to be held in Cambodia in March," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said.

"On our return from the recent AFC Asian Cup we reassessed our plans due to the ongoing detainment of Australian footballer Hakeem al-Araibi in a Thai prison.

“We are in the process of rearranging our pre-tournament camp in another Asian nation.

"Australia’s national teams are united in their support for Hakeem al-Araibi and we call on the community to continue to campaign for his release."

The Olyroos were to play two friendlies - against China's under-22's and a yet-to-be named team - in the Thai capital before heading off to Cambodia for a qualification tournament for the 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held in Tokyo.

An Interpol red notice was issued in November to Thailand on behalf of Bahrain - Al-Araibi's country of birth - to arrest and extradite the refugee to the Middle Eastern country so he can serve 10 years jail for vandalism.

Article continues below

Al-Araibi, who was on a honeymoon to Thailand from Australia with his wife when arrested, says he can prove he was competing in a televised football match in Bahrain during the time the supposed offence occurred.

On Monday, he was given 60 days to prepare his case against Bahrain's extradition despite Thai authorities admitting they have the power to release him regardless of the extradition process.

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster has been leading the crusade to free Al-Araibi, while football stars such as Didier Drogba also pledging their support.

Close