Craig Foster
Personal information
Full name Craig Andrew Foster
Date of birth (1969-04-15) 15 April 1969 (age 52)
Place of birth Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
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)
National team
1985 Australia U-17
1996–2000 Australia 29 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Craig Andrew Foster AM (born 15 April 1969) is an Australian retired soccer player, human rights activist and sports analyst for the Stan Sport streaming service in Australia. Foster was formerly chief football analyst for the Special Broadcasting Service, where he worked for 18 years.[1] He is renowned for his outspoken stance on the need for association football in Australia to mature.[2][3][4]

Early years

Foster was born in Lismore, New South Wales, later attending Kadina High School, periodically returning to speak and motivate students.[5][6] Both sides of his family are of Anglo-Celtic descent.[7]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[8][9]

He returned to Australia to play with Northern Spirit, based in North Sydney, until his retirement from the game in 2003.[10]

In 2013 he was listed as a player for the Belmore United Over 35s along with Paul Okon and Francis Awaritefe.[11][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.[12]

He played for the Australian national football team from 1996 to 2000,[13] earning 29 caps and scoring nine goals.[8]

Post retirement

Foster started his on-air career with the Seven Network, serving as a football analyst and principal commentator on their then pay TV sport channel, C7 Sport, as well as regularly appearing as a panellist on SBS' weekly football 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 football broadcasts.[14][15] In June 2020, it was announced that Foster would be leaving the SBS after working eighteen years as a sports presenter.[1]

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Foster was part of the SBS commentary team from Germany.[14]

Following his retirement from professional football, Foster became the chief football analyst for the SBS show The World Game, and is remembered for his commentary during the World Cup Qualifier in November 2005 against Uruguay. He is also renowned for his advocacy of a more Spanish/South American style of play, as opposed to the constant use of the long ball in football.[16][4][17][18][19][20] Foster has been a strong advocate for player's rights, having served for five years on the Australian Professional Footballers' Association Executive, as a Director of the APFA's commercial wing, PFAM (PFA Management), and formerly as Chief Executive of the Player's Association.[16] Foster is a life member of the APFA and a member of the APFA Technical Committee.[14]

He writes for The Sun-Herald[citation needed] and The Sydney Morning Herald.[21]

He was a coach for Nerds FC in their second season.[16]

In 2007, Foster was invited to be the Australian representative to judge the Ballon d'Or, the highest award given to an individual football player.[16][14]

Human rights advocate

Foster 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]

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.[22] Foster's many tweets on the topic were widely shared.[23][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][24]

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."[25] By midday the following day, the article pinned to his Twitter page had garnered 1,800 retweets and 4,600 likes.[26][non-primary source needed]


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.[27]



Other qualifications and roles



  1. ^ a b "SBS to farewell Craig Foster after 18 years". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Kicking goals at SBS". The Courier-Mail. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  3. ^ Huxley, John; Timms, Aaron (17 June 2006). "We're improving at a rate of knots". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  4. ^ a b Dasey, Jason (15 July 2008). "Foster: Australian for football". ESPNsoccernet. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Local heroes go back to school". Lismore Echo. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  6. ^ Hicks, Adam (23 February 2008). "Foster back again for the Corey New Cup". The Northern Star. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  7. ^ a b 2020 Craig Foster interview, YouTube
  8. ^ a b c Craig Foster at
  9. ^ King, Ian (April 2012). Crystal Palace: A Complete Record 1905–2011. The Derby Books Publishing Company. pp. 414–7 and 538. ISBN 9781780910468.
  10. ^ "Australian Player Database – FO". Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ Foster, Craig (27 October 2015). "Joeys success shows how far Aussie football has come". SBS. The World Game. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  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. ^ "Craig Foster". Platinum Speakers. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d "Profile – Craig Foster". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 23 September 2009.[dead link]
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Foster, Craig. "Time to end the English cringe". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service.
  19. ^ Butcher, Terry (19 October 2006). "Foster's expert opinion will be welcome at training". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  20. ^ Hicks, Adam (30 October 2007). "Foster defends Arnold comments". The Northern Star. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Craig Foster". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "Craig Foster". Twitter. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Craig Foster". Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Australia Day 2021 Honours List" (PDF). Government House. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  28. ^ Oceanian Player of the Year 1997 The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
  29. ^ Australia – Team of the Century The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
  30. ^ "Craig Foster". LinkedIn. Retrieved 18 February 2019.[permanent dead link]
External video
video icon One Plus One: Craig Foster, One Plus One, ABC News