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'Morally bankrupt' - Craig Foster calls for AFC president Sheikh Salman to be sacked over Hakeem Al-Araibi detention

08:15 IST 27/01/2019
Hakeem Al-Araibi
The ex-skipper has criticised the Asian football governing body for its statement on the saga and says their leader needs to go

Former Socceroos captain Craig Foster has called for Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman to be sacked over Hakeem Al-Araibi's detention - labelling the organisation 'morally bankrupt'.

Al-Araibi has been detained in Thailand since November and despite being granted refugee status to live in Australia since 2014, now faces deportation back to Bahrain where he faces imprisonment and torture, according to Amnesty International. 

The AFC released their first public statement on Al-Araibi on Sunday - admitting their president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family, had a conflict of interest in the case but refused to take a position on whether the refugee should be released from his jail cell in Bangkok.

Foster took to social media after the statement's release, calling for Sheikh Salman to be removed from the AFC and claiming Al-Araibi will be in a position to seek damages once he is freed from prison.

"This statement betrays every principle of international sport governance. Admission of conflict, morally bankrupt, investigation required in due course," Foster tweeted.

"This person can play no further role in sport. Had AFC acted on 27 Nov, injustice of 62 days likely averted #SaveHakeem.

"Salman will be held to account under FIFA/AFC Art 3 Human Rights provisions.

"Duty of care to Hakeem has been breached by remaining President despite numerous calls to vacate the office. Hakeem might later explore case in damages against AFC, FIFA #SaveHakeem."

Foster, who recently visited Al-Araibi in Bangkok and travelled to Switzerland to meet FIFA officials for discussions on the issue, has been leading the calls for Al-Araibi's immediate release back to Australia.

Support has been growing for the Pascoe Vale footballer with several petitions supporting his case, including one that nearly reached it's 20,000 target in one day .

FIFA and Football Federation Australia have both been a part of the efforts to secure Al-Araibi's freedom, but questions put to Socceroos coach Graham Arnold at the Asian Cup were shut down by AFC officials .