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<!-- body { font:12px Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000; background-color: #EEF2FB; margin: 0px; } --> ZURICH (AP) — Soccer activists campaigning for the release of a Bahraini refugee player detained in Thailand say his plight has become an emergency.Former Australia captain Craig Foster said Monday at FIFA headquarters that Bahrain had formally submitted an extradition request to Thailand for the return of Hakeem al-Araibi. The former Bahrain national team player has refugee status in Australia and fears being tortured in his home country.“This matter has become an absolute emergency ,” Foster said after meeting with FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura. “We want it to be resolved this week, before Friday.”FIFA President Gianni Infantino will join Asian soccer leaders at the end of the week for the Asian Cup final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.FIFA agreed with al-Araibi’s supporters, Foster said, that they need to increase contacts with government and soccer officials in Bahrain and Thailand, “and of course the royal family of Bahrain.”Samoura has written in support of al-Araibi to Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha. The Asian Football Confederation’s president is Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.“We believe he (al-Araibi) is a political prisoner having criticized members of the Bahraini royal family in recent years,” said Foster Zack Steffen Jersey , a television analyst and former players’ union official in Australia. “This is ultimately what this is all about.”Al-Araibi has been jailed since November in Thailand — where he arrived with his wife on vacation — on an Interpol notice wrongfully requested by Bahrain because he is a recognized refugee.Human rights groups believe Al-Araibi risks being tortured in Bahrain, which he fled in 2014. That year, he was sentenced in absence to 10 years imprisonment on a charge he denies of vandalizing a police station.Al-Araibi has claimed he was targeted for arrest because of his Shiite faith and because his brother was politically active. Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy which survived a failed uprising in the “Arab Spring” protests in 2011.Australia gave him political asylum in 2017 and he now plays for the Pascoe Vale club in Melbourne.Foster, who visited Al-Araibi in a Bangkok prison last week, was joined at FIFA by another Australian, Brendan Schwab. He is the executive director of the World Players’ Association, which represents 85,000 athletes across all sports.“The FIFA human rights framework that has been put in place in recent years is Cheap Soccer Jerseys , we believe, the benchmark for the rest of sport,” Schwab said. “It’s something we want to see upheld as an example.”The Asian soccer body has said Sheikh Salman recused himself from the case to avoid a conflict of interest. It has not formally supported FIFA’s call for al-Araibi to return to Australia.Former FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, who competed against Infantino and Sheikh Salman in the 2016 election, has supported the player.“Release Hakeem!” the Jordanian prince wrote Sunday on his Twitter account. “Your silence as officials is a shame and a total embarrassment. Protect your players.” MADRID (AP) — The Copa America is less than three months away and both Brazil and Argentina have shown they are far from their best.Brazil is having trouble defending and transitioning from the back to the attack. Argentina, meanwhile, is struggling with a drop in individual skill on the ball — even with the return of Lionel Messi.The South American championship starts on June 14 and runs through July 7 in five cities around Brazil.The Brazilian national team was held to a 1-1 draw by Panama on Saturday, and then unconvincingly beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in Prague on Tuesday. Both matches were played without Neymar Cheap AC Milan Soccer Shirts , who has a foot injury.Brazil coach Tite, so beloved before the World Cup in Russia, is now facing condemnation from an army of detractors.“I respect (the criticism), and I say that without any hypocrisy,” Tite said. “I am in the public eye and I need to know how to absorb this.”The two friendlies, both played in Europe, showed a weakness in Brazil’s defensive setup, but there were also some highlights up front.David Neres Cheap Arsenal Soccer Jerseys , an Ajax striker who played in the place of injured Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, excelled in Brazil’s victory against the Czechs despite only playing for only 33 minutes.Also, AC Milan forward Lucas Paqueta scored against Panama while Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus scored two goals in Prague — two more than he managed at last year’s World Cup.Brazil’s final squad for the Copa America will be announced on May 17.The pressure is also on Argentina, which hasn’t won the continental tournament in 26 years and lost to Chile in the last two finals.Messi’s return to the national team for the first time since Argentina lost to eventual champion France in the last 16 at the World Cup was far from glorious. The Argentines lost to Venezuela 3-1 in Madrid on Friday. They followed that with a late goal in a 1-0 win over Morocco in Tangiers — without Messi on the field.Messi never explained why he took a break following the World Cup, but the team he rejoined last week under coach Lionel Scaloni is changing day by day.Since taking over late last year, with a contract that runs through the Copa America, Scaloni has already tried eight different goalkeepers.“I think we arrive well to Copa America,” Scaloni said , drawing some amazed looks from the assembled media. “As I said in the draw, we will fight a war with everyone.”Besides having Messi in the attack, though, the rest of the team that will play in Brazil remains a mystery.

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