FFA bids to bring freedom fighter Foster on board

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Influential voices on the Football Federation Australia board are canvassing Craig Foster over becoming one of three new directors due to be appointed this year.

The former Socceroo’s tireless quest to liberate refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from detention in Thailand and return him to Australia has won admirers worldwide, not least among existing board members.

SBS pundit Foster has been shuttling between Sydney, Bangkok and FIFA HQ in Zurich battling to prevent Al-Araibi being extradited to Bahrain where he faces spurious vandalism charges and the prospect of torture in his former homeland.

Foster withdrew from the race for FFA chairman late last year after failing to muster the requisite backing of the state federations, and may be reluctant to accept a directorship at a time when the board is under siege over the controversial sacking of Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

However, that hasn’t stopped the board reaching out to Foster, with the appointment of two females and another male looming. 

The vacant positions will be discussed at a board meeting on Monday, with Foster’s name at the fore.

A well-informed source close to the board said simply: “Given that Craig was a keen advocate to stand for election and stand for the chair before pulling out, he’s definitely someone that the board would be mad not to consider.

“He’s been sounded out (in a preliminary fashion) over whether he’s interested in being appointed.

“The board doesn’t know (yet) whether he is, or whether he’d want to try and be elected next year.”

While in admiration of Foster’s humanitarian heroics, the source added: “interestingly, had he already been on the board he couldn’t have done what he has because he’d have been on the inside working with the Department of Foreign Affairs, FIFA and the AFC, which is what the board has been doing.

“But he has led a people’s power movement, and he’s done that brilliantly. He’s a passionate advocate.

“The (wider) football world certainly knows who Craig Foster is now, if they didn’t before.”

The board’s nominations committee is being headed up by recently elected director Joseph Carrozzi, with a wide spectrum of names put forward by Congress members.