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“Inexplicable”: Craig Foster slams FFA for backing controversial Sheikh

Craig Foster has told Macquarie Sports Radio that it is “inexplicable” that Football Federation Australia has backed Bahrain’s Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa to be re-elected as President of the Asian Football Confederation.

Sheik Salman was controversially part of Bahrain’s bid to have refugee Hakeem al-Araibi deported back to Bahrain.

Foster was instrumental in the campaign to have al-Araibi released from a Thai prison and returned to Australia.

The former Socceroo has slammed the FFA for giving their support to Sheik Salman in the upcoming AFC elections:

“It’s really deflating to have to even be talking about it. We’re all just staggered.

“Yesterday came as a real shock to everyone including as I understand almost all of the congress members. Whether that’s the players who put out a statement this morning – the PFA – saying they certainly don’t support it and have called, like me, for Salman to actually be stood aside because of his conduct throughout.”

Foster also linked the behaviour to the days of the FIFA corruption scandals:

“This is kind of what happened during the whole FIFA 1.0 era and all of the corruption that occurred.

“People when they go for the vote, they tend to do only one thing and that is measure all the candidates against each other, but that’s a race to the bottom.

“What that says is that there’s no principles or values within Australian sport itself. We have to have our minimum non-negotiable standards.

“A guy who is implicated – not just in Hakeem’s case – but many cases prior to that is someone we cannot possibly support.”

Listen to Craig Foster’s full comments below: