Craig Foster
Foster in February 2022
Craig Andrew Foster

1969 (age 54–55)
Alma materKadina High School
Johan Cruyff Institute
Central Queensland University
Occupation(s)Former soccer player, human rights advocate, sports presenter
Known forAustralian national soccer team player and captain, human rights advocacy
Notable workFighting for Hakeem (2019)
TelevisionSBS (2002 – June 2020)
Stan (August 2020 – present)
Board member ofAustralian Republic Movement (Chair), Australian Multicultural Council, John Moriarty Football
AwardsLogie Awards (3)
Member of the Order of Australia
Craig Foster
Personal information
Full name Craig Andrew Foster
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1986–1987 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Sydney United 39 (2)
1989–1990 Sunshine Georgies 33 (0)
1991 Avala
1991 Singapore
1992 Avala 6 (0)
1992–1993 Ernest Borel
1994–1996 Adelaide City 50 (16)
1996–1997 Marconi Stallions 26 (4)
1997–1998 Portsmouth 19 (4)
1998–2000 Crystal Palace 52 (3)
2000–2003 Northern Spirit 43 (2)
International career
1985 Australia U-17
1996–2000 Australia 29 (9)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Craig Andrew Foster AM (born 1969), nicknamed Fozzy or Fozz, is an Australian retired soccer player, human rights activist and sports analyst for the Stan streaming service in Australia. Foster played soccer professionally from 1988 to 2003, including for the national team, the Socceroos, from 1996 to 2000, and was chief soccer analyst for SBS from around 2002 until June 2020. He was the 419th Socceroo, and the 40th captain of the national team.

Foster is also known for his human rights advocacies, and is a vocal critic of the Australian Government's treatment of asylum seekers. He played a high-profile role in the campaign to free Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from detention in Thailand in from late 2018 to early 2019, later co-writing a book about it, Fighting for Hakeem, which became the working title of a 2023 documentary film (renamed The Defenders).

Foster was elected chair of the Australian Republic Movement in November 2022.

Early life and education

Craig Andrew Foster was born in 1969[1] in Lismore, New South Wales.[2] Both sides of his family are of Anglo-Celtic descent.[3]

He attended Kadina High School, periodically returning to speak and motivate students.[2][4] Foster holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Football Business and a Master in Sport Management degree from the Johan Cruyff Institute.[5] In 2019, he earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Central Queensland University Australia.[6]

Playing career

Club career

Playing as a midfielder, Foster debuted with Sydney Croatia in 1988, playing in a losing grand final in his first season. Foster has said his time at Sydney Croatia is what began his interest in multiculturalism.[3]

He moved to Victorian club Sunshine George Cross in 1989 before returning to Sydney to play for Avala in the NSW Super League in 1992. In 1992/3, Foster played for Ernest Borel in Hong Kong, before returning to Australia to play for Adelaide City in 1994 and then Marconi in the NSL in 1996/7.[7]

As a 28-year-old he moved to England, linking up with Terry Venables firstly at Portsmouth in 1997–98, before moving to Crystal Palace as a free agent from 1998 to 2000.[7][8]

He returned to Australia to play with Northern Spirit, based in North Sydney, until his retirement from the game in 2003.[9]

In 2013 he was listed as a player for the Belmore United Over 35s along with Paul Okon and Francis Awaritefe.[10][non-primary source needed]

International career

Foster represented Australia at under-16 level, reaching the quarter finals at the 1985 FIFA U-16 World Championship in China.[11][12]

He was the 419th player[12] for the Australia national team (the Socceroos) from 1996 to 2000,[13] earning 29 caps, and was the team's 40th captain,[14][15] and scoring nine goals.[7]

As a Socceroo, he played in the following competitions and games:

Football honours

In retirement

As of 2022, Foster still plays for Waverley Old Boys Over 35s.[12]

Other roles related to soccer

Foster in 2011

Foster started his on-air career with the Seven Network, serving as a soccer analyst and principal commentator on their then pay TV sport channel, C7 Sport, as well as regularly appearing as a panellist on SBS' weekly soccer program On The Ball. He later joined SBS full-time, working with Les Murray and the Johnny Warren at the helm of SBS' hugely successful soccer broadcasts.[14][18] He became known as "Fozz"[19] or "Fozzy".[20]

Following his retirement from professional soccer, Foster became the chief soccer analyst for the SBS show The World Game, from around 2002 until June 2020.[21] He is remembered for his commentary during the World Cup Qualifier in November 2005 against Uruguay,[22][12] and during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Foster was part of the SBS commentary team from Germany.[14]

He advocated for a more Spanish/South American style of play, as opposed to the constant use of the long ball in soccer,[22][23][24][25][26][27] and was also known for his outspoken stance on the need for soccer in Australia to mature.[28][29][23]

In 2007, Foster was invited to be the Australian representative to judge the Ballon d'Or, the highest award given to an individual soccer player.[22][14]

Also in 2007, he was a coach for the team assembled by the SBS television show Nerds FC in their second season.[22][30]

In June 2020, it was announced that Foster would be leaving SBS, after working for 18 years as a sports presenter.[21] He joined Stan Sport in August 2020, in time to co-present, along with UK presenter Max Rushden, several big UEFA competitions: the Champions League[31][32] the Europa League, and the Conference League.[33]

Foster has been a strong advocate for players' rights, having served for five years on Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Executive, as a Director of the PFA's commercial wing, PFAM (PFA Management), and formerly as Interim Chief Executive of the Australian Soccer Players' Association (PFA's former name).[22][3] He is a life member of the PFA, and in 2016 was appointed interim chairman of the PFA.[34]

Other roles include being an Ambassador for the Johan Cruyff Institute (since 2018, as of 2022)[5] and a co-director/ board member of John Moriarty Football.[35][36]

Human rights and social advocacy

Foster is a member of the Australian Multicultural Council, since 2018 and as of March 2022.[37] He has long been an advocate for footballers and has been human rights and refugee ambassador for Amnesty International. He has often used his position as presenter and chief football analyst at SBS to criticise unethical practices in the game.[13] He works in a range of social programs, including Indigenous rights and self-determination; homelessness in Australia; climate change; and advocacy for refugees.[15]

Hakeem al-Araibi campaign

Foster was vocal in campaigning on behalf of Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who was granted protection as a political refugee in Australia in 2014 but was detained upon arrival in Thailand in November 2018 while on his honeymoon with his wife owing to an Interpol red notice put out by Bahrain. Foster travelled to Switzerland to present a petition with more than 50,000 signatures demanding the release of the detained footballer and held talks with general secretary Fatma Samoura FIFA on 29 January 2019, spent time in Thailand speaking to al-Araibi's legal team and visited al-Araibi in prison.[38] Foster's many tweets on the topic were widely shared.[39][non-primary source needed] After al-Araibi's release was secured, others tweeted nominations for Foster as Australian of the Year or even prime minister. Many politicians, including prime minister Scott Morrison praised him for his efforts.[13]

Foster said after the release of al-Araibi that the fight had just begun, and after the incident had shone light on the atrocities against athletes during and after the Bahraini uprising of 2011, what was needed is a full investigation into the matter by both FIFA and the IOC to ensure that justice is done for all athletes. He also implicitly offered criticism of Australia's current policies on refugees, saying "Australia needs to look at how we treat every human being that comes to these shores, irrespective of how they arrive... We are all equal, and should all be treated with equal dignity, care and respect", and "Australia must do better than we have in recent years".[13][40]

Foster plays a prominent role in the 2023 documentary film The Defenders by Adelaide filmmaker Matthew Bate,[41] which tells the story the campaign to free al-Araibi from prison. It was released on Amazon Prime Video on 23 June 2023, after being shown at the Sydney Film Festival (where it won an audience award)[42][43] and a special preview screening by Adelaide Film Festival in Adelaide on 21 June.[citation needed] Foster is also credited as co-writer on the film, as some of the script was based on his book, Fighting for Hakeem, which was the working title of the film.[citation needed]

Refugee advocacy

On 22 February 2019, Foster published an open letter to the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, in The Sydney Morning Herald, in which, after thanking them for their assistance in helping to free al-Araibi, he addressed the issue of how Australia treats its asylum seekers. He said "I have waited until after Hakeem was safely home [from Thailand] to explain that one of the reasons it was so difficult to garner international support was because of our own treatment of refugees. This was a constant theme throughout discussions with international stakeholders" and "The policy of indefinite, offshore detention does not uphold our international obligations...". He said that he was urging others to uphold their human rights obligations in allowing al-Araibi to return to Australia, while "we are failing to uphold our own".[44] He became the face of Amnesty Australia's "Game Over" (#GameOver) campaign in late 2019, which has been supported by high-profile sportspeople such as Liz Ellis, Benny Elias, Paul Roos, Ian Chappell, Lisa Sthalekar, Paul Wade, Frank Farina, Alex Tobin, Craig Moore; musician Jimmy Barnes, actors Bryan Brown and Anthony La Paglia musicians and many others.[45][12] Sally McManus, and many others. The campaign centres on the plight of asylum seekers kept in indefinite detention by the Australian Government, for many years after 2013 at detention centres on Manus Island, (PNG), and Nauru.[46][47] In October 2020, as part of the campaign, Foster and NRL star Sonny Bill Williams presented a petition containing more than 65,000 signatures to federal parliament, which called upon the government to take up New Zealand's longstanding (since 2013) offer to resettle refugees who had been held Australian offshore detention for many years.[48]

On 23 March 2022 Foster delivered the Australian National University's annual "Australia and the World Lecture", which had been postponed from 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, at the National Press Club of Australia. It was titled "Human Rights, Democracy and Global Citizenry - Recovering Australia's Humanity and Place in the World: 2021 ANU Australia and the World Lecture".[15] The address looked at Australia's role in the world from the lived experience of asylum seekers and refugees, and argued that the nation should live up to its commitments as a responsible global citizen.[49] In the talk, he said that Australia had not performed well Indigenous and refugee rights or on climate change. He bemoaned the lack of good leadership on these issues, and said that the colonisation of Australia had been underpinned by racism, and is still present in policy and media coverage; that it is a "festering sore on the national psyche".[50][51][52] The following day, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews announced that the government would accept New Zealand's to resettle some of the refugees.[53]

Saudi Arabia and Qatar

Foster was a vocal critic of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, particularly on the issue of wage theft and labour abuses on the migrant workers that built the World Cup infrastructure. He has vocally supported the #PayUpFIFA campaign of the Human Rights Watch, which advocates for the payment of US$440 million for the affected families of the mistreated migrant workers.[54] He has also criticised Saudi Arabia's sponsorship of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup as a case of sportswashing, stating that "It would be quite the irony for Saudi’s tourism body to sponsor the largest celebration of women’s sport in the world when you consider that, as a woman in Saudi Arabia, you can’t even have a job without the permission of your male guardian." He also criticised the reform policies of Mohammed bin Salman as mere "publicity stunts" to diversify the Saudi economy.[55]

Other roles

Foster was formerly Director of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[49]

He has volunteered with Play for Lives (#PlayForLives), a response to the COVID-19 pandemic by sporting people and bodies, which began in Australia and expanded internationally.[49][56] He is a driving force behind "#RacismNotWelcome",[49] a grassroots campaign initiated the Addison Road Community Centre,[12] supported by local government associations across Australia.[57] Their strategy includes building street signs bearing the slogan "#RacismNotWelcome" in every local council in Australia.[58]

As of 2022 Foster also holds the following positions:[15][49]

Recognition and honours

As a sports broadcaster with SBS, Foster won at least three Logie Awards for the Most Outstanding Sports Coverage[15] as part of The World Game team at SBS.[60] Australia's Round of 16 match against Italy in 2006 (at the 2007 Logies); and the 2018 World Cup in Russia (at the 2019 Logies).[12] In 2015 Foster and Les Murray also accepted the Logie in 2015 for their coverage the 2014 World Cup by The World Game.[61] (One source reports a win for the 2005 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in Sydney, but this is not confirmed.[12])

In 2019, the Foster was recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a "True Australian Leader", while The Sydney Morning Herald listed him as one of the "People that Defined 2019".[49]

In 2020 he was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Commission's Human Rights Medal, for his work in advocating for Hakeem al-Araibi in 2019,[15] and in the same year was awarded the NSW Humanitarian Award (awarded during Refugee Week each year by the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors[62]) for his work with sport and human rights,[49] and the Abyssinian Medal, as part of the 14th Australian Muslim Achievement Awards (AMAA) founded and hosted by the Mission of Hope and led by Hanan Dover.[63]

He was a finalist for NSW Australian of the Year in 2021.[49]

Artist Julian Meagher decided that he would paint a portrait of Foster each year until it was shortlisted for the prestigious Archibald Prize. His first attempt in 2020 did not make it, but in 2021 his portrait, named Fozzy, made the shortlist.[20][64]

In 2021, Foster was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to multiculturalism, to human rights and refugee support organisations, and to football.[65][49]



Foster is a former columnist for the Sun Herald,[12] and writes for The Sydney Morning Herald,[66] The Age, The Guardian, and other publications.[49]

Monographs include:

Personal life

Foster is married to Lara Foster, and they have three children, Jake, Jemma, and Charli.[60] He wrote a dedication to them in Fighting for Hakeem.[67]

He says he is an introvert, who does not relish social situations.[60]


  1. ^ "Foster, Craig (1969–)", Trove, 2020, retrieved 29 March 2022
  2. ^ a b "Local heroes go back to school". Lismore Echo. 18 May 2006. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Craig Foster interview on YouTube The Easy Road, 23 September 2020.
  4. ^ Hicks, Adam (23 February 2008). "Foster back again for the Corey New Cup". The Northern Star. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  5. ^ a b ""The new generations of players in Australia understand more and more the importance of education for their future"". Johan Cruyff Institute (in Spanish). 15 January 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Craig Foster". CQUniversity Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Craig Foster at
  8. ^ King, Ian (April 2012). Crystal Palace: A Complete Record 1905–2011. The Derby Books Publishing Company. pp. 414–7 and 538. ISBN 9781780910468.
  9. ^ "Australian Player Database – FO". Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Reminder: Triple header of football this Sunday at Blick Oval: Belmore United Football Club Inc. vs Hurstville City Minotaurs". Facebook. Football NSW. 17 May 2013.
  11. ^ Foster, Craig (27 October 2015). "Joeys success shows how far Aussie football has come". SBS. The World Game. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "All in this together? putting people at the heart of decision making the case for human rights in a new social bargain". UniSA. UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d Wahlquist, Calla (13 February 2019). "Craig Foster – the man behind Hakeem al-Araibi's remarkable release". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d "Craig Foster". Celebrity Speakers. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "'Australia and the World' 2021 Annual Lecture: Craig Foster AM". Australian Studies Institute. ANU. 22 February 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  16. ^ Australia – Team of the Century The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
  17. ^ Oceanian Player of the Year 1997 "This award is open to all players originating from Oceania, no matter where they play. The winner is chosen by a forum of journalists." The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 4 Jan 2000.
  18. ^ "Craig Foster". Platinum Speakers. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Fozz on Football: The Global Game and Australia's Foo by Craig Foster - 9781740669344". QBD. 22 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Art, Activism And The Archibald". The Design Files. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  21. ^ a b "SBS to farewell Craig Foster after 18 years". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Profile – Craig Foster". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  23. ^ a b Dasey, Jason (15 July 2008). "Foster: Australian for football". ESPNsoccernet. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  24. ^ Foster, Craig (29 July 2017). "Lessons to be learnt from our Asian boot in the backside – Asian Cup Analysis". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  25. ^ Foster, Craig. "Time to end the English cringe". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service.
  26. ^ Butcher, Terry (19 October 2006). "Foster's expert opinion will be welcome at training". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  27. ^ Hicks, Adam (30 October 2007). "Foster defends Arnold comments". The Northern Star. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Kicking goals at SBS". The Courier-Mail. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  29. ^ Huxley, John; Timms, Aaron (17 June 2006). "We're improving at a rate of knots". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  30. ^ Foster, Craig; Stewart, Charles; SBS-TV (2007), Nerds FC (Video), retrieved 29 March 2022
  31. ^ "Former Aussie skipper to head groundbreaking coverage". Nine's Wide World of Sports. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  32. ^ Thomas, Josh (10 August 2021). "Stan reveal ex-Socceroo Craig Foster and Max Rushden as first Champions League signings". Sporting News Australia. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Foster joins Stan Sport's UEFA coverage" (Video). The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 August 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Craig Foster Appointed Interim PFA Chairman". Professional Footballers Australia. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  35. ^ "Our Board". Moriarty Foundation. 21 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  36. ^ Intili, Daniela (9 November 2020). "Indigenous Football Week sparks calls for greater Aboriginal representation in game". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  37. ^ "Australian Multicultural Council". Department of Home Affairs (Australia). Archived from the original on 26 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  38. ^ "Craig Foster meets FIFA over detained footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi". SBS News. 29 January 2019. Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Craig Foster". Twitter. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  40. ^ Foster, Craig (12 February 2019). "Privileged sport officials willing to sacrifice Hakeem al-Araibi's life should be expunged". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  41. ^ "The Defenders". Sydney Film Festival. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  42. ^ Slatter, Sean (21 June 2023). "'Birdeater', 'The Defenders' top Sydney Film Festival Audience Awards". IF Magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  43. ^ Ma, Wenlei (22 June 2023). "The Defenders: The extraordinary story of the Save Hakeem campaign". Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  44. ^ Foster, Craig (22 February 2019). "Dear Scott and Bill, we've strayed from our values: a Socceroo's plea". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  45. ^ "#Game Over". Craig Foster. 12 November 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  46. ^ "It's time to call 'Game Over' on offshore detention". Game Over. 3 March 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  47. ^ "Game Over: Why Craig Foster's refugee campaign matters". The Roar. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  48. ^ Gregoire, Paul (4 November 2020). "Freeing the Refugees Will Free Our Nation: Craig Foster Calls Game Over". Sydney Criminal Lawyers. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Australia and the World". Craig Foster. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  50. ^ Craig Foster AM addresses the National Press Club of Australia. on YouTube National Press Club of Australia, 23 March 2022.
  51. ^ Iaria, Melissa (23 March 2022). "Craig Foster says racism a 'festering sore' on national psyche". Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  52. ^ "Australia and the World: National Press Club address" (Video and transcript). Craig Foster. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  53. ^ Withers, Rachel (24 March 2022). "Nine years too long". The Monthly. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  54. ^ Foster, Craig (21 September 2022). "For those paid to speak, silence is not an option at Qatar World Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  55. ^
  56. ^ "Gallery". Play for Lives. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  57. ^ "Official Website of a community-led initiative". Racism NOT Welcome. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  58. ^ "About". Racism NOT Welcome. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  59. ^ A Message from the Australian Republic Movement's new Chair, Craig Foster, retrieved 22 November 2022
  60. ^ a b c Law, Benjamin (16 October 2020). "Benjamin Law's Dicey Topics with former Socceroos captain and now human rights activist Craig Foster". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  61. ^ "Les and Fozz at the Logies" (Video). Facebook. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  62. ^ "Humanitarian Awards". STARTTS. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  63. ^ "Muslim awards night celebrated nationally". AMUST. 2 December 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  64. ^ "Archibald Prize Archibald 2021 work: Fozzy by Julian Meagher". Art Gallery of NSW. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  65. ^ "Australia Day 2021 Honours List" (PDF). Government House. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  66. ^ "Craig Foster". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  67. ^ Foster, Craig; Engel-Mallon, Alexandra (2019). Fighting for Hakeem. Hachette Australia. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7336-4317-0. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
External videos
video icon One Plus One: Craig Foster, One Plus One, ABC News