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Bachar Houli

Last played for Richmond Tigers in 2021
Games: 232     Born: May 12, 1988     Origin: Western
Playing Height: 180cm     Playing Weight: 83kg     Position: Defender
First Drafted: Round 3, Pick #42 2006 National Draft by Essendon Bombers
Last Drafted: Round 1, Pick #3 2010 Pre-Season Draft by Richmond Tigers
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Bachar Houli Biography

Monday, 12 June 2023
Bachar Houli is recovering in hospital after being injured in a serious car crash in the Snowy Mountains area.

The 35-year-old was driving a Jeep that rolled on a private Bringenbrong property about 9am on Sunday. He was initially taken to Albury Hospital with a broken pelvis and shoulder, as well as a punctured lung. Houli was then flown to a Melbourne hospital on Sunday night where he remains in a stable condition.

Monday, 29 August 2022
Collingwood great Nathan Buckley will present the Norm Smith Medal on Grand Final day this year, while three-time premiership player Bachar Houli has been announced as the premiership cup ambassador for 2022.
Tuesday, 9 November 2021
Bachar Houli says he could tell when the end was near.

"I knew that once you hit that big three-O, things start to go downhill. Physically, starting to slow down, your motivation lacks at times, but that wasn't a negative thing, that was a positive thing because I just played more freely," he said.

Houli said his final AFL game against Gold Coast was still enjoyable, despite getting injured and his team losing.

"I got injured, but guess what - I enjoyed that game. Even though we lost, I enjoyed it and that was my goal for every single year," he said.

"Just enjoy training, enjoy the mateship that you have created at the football club, enjoy the wins, learn from your losses."

Thursday, 19 August 2021
Bachar Houli calls an end to his 232-game career, effective immediately.

"I have been fortunate enough to play at two great clubs and to be a part of the history of this game," the 33-year-old said in a statement.

"Not only did I want to play as many games as possible but I wanted to educate Australia, about my faith (and) about the religion of Islam, the religion of peace. I hope I have left a sense of peace in everyone's heart."

Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Out-of-contract Bachar Houli reveals he has received interest from his former club Essendon but says he is keen to remain at Richmond.

"I've got something far greater than just a playing contract at the football club and that's the foundation and the work we've done together with Richmond Football Club and the AFL to establish the foundation," Houli said.

"Hopefully there's a contract post-Grand Final, maybe before Grand Final, but it's been a funny year. I'm going to wait patiently and hopefully, there's an offer there in the short-term."

Sunday, 18 October 2020
Bachar Houli is awarded the 2020 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award for his community work through his role with the Bachar Houli Foundation which strives for inclusiveness and social cohesion.

"Bachar's contribution to the community will continue to have an impact long after he retires from the AFL and it is heartening to hear of the number of lives he has touched over his 14 years in the game," Mr McLachlan said.

"He is an incredible role model and his relentless drive to supporting his community should be commended and applauded. This award is much-deserved recognition for Bachar's commitment and dedication over his career."

Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Essendon is reported to be exploring the prospect of getting out-of-contract Tiger Bachar Houli back in the red and black.

Houli shares a close relationship with Bomber Adam Saad, a player Essendon is trying to retain on a four-year deal amid keen interest from clubs including Carlton and North Melbourne.

"I call Bachar my brother, I've looked up to him since he started. We speak once or twice a week and we're very close," Saad said before playing with Houli for Victoria in February.

Monday, 13 July 2020
Bachar Houli reveals that his mother is battling COVID-19 in intensive care and pleads on Instagram for people to undergo COVID-19 tests.
Thursday, 16 January 2020
A life-sized 3D hologram of Bachar Houli will take centre stage at the re-opening of the Australian Sports Museum, following a $17 million upgrade.

The hologram of Houli will guide visitors through a range of his experiences at AFL level, starting with a candid chat about what it was like to get drafted, all the way through to Richmond's drought-breaking 2017 premiership flag.

Friday, 13 September 2019
Bachar Houli signs a new one-year deal to remain with Richmond in 2020, capping off a career-best year in 2019 where he is averaging 27.7 disposals per game.

"I'm very happy to continue my football career at Richmond, and to launch the Foundation that will support Islamic youth to develop their leadership and cultural connection," Houli said.

"I'm really proud of the work we've achieved so far with all of our programs, and I'm incredibly excited to take our work to the next level with the establishment of the Foundation with the Richmond Football Club."

Friday, 30 August 2019
Bachar Houli earns his maiden All-Australian selection off the back of a career-best 2019 season where he averaged 28.4 disposals and 6.3 marks playing across half-back.

"I'm extremely humbled by it," he said.

"It's truly an honour and it's something that I'll cherish, probably after football where you kind of reflect on achievements."

Friday, 22 March 2019
Bachar Houli flys to Christchurch to visit the mosques where 50 people were murdered in a terrorist attack.

"We're welcoming people and peaceful people full of harmony," Houli said of the Muslim community.

"There are times on the field where I've received a few comments from the crowd but I just put a smile on my face. We are so proud of who we are and this will not break us."

Thursday, 16 August 2018
Richmond and Essendon will unite in a pre-game moment of solidarity to promote diversity before their Friday night clash at the MCG.

Tiger Bachar Houli and Bomber Adam Saad, who are both practising Muslims, will toss the coin alongside their respective club captains.

Both clubs want to use the Friday night stage as a platform to "stand alongside" Houli and Saad to "remind everyone that our great game and our country values people of all cultures and communities".

The gesture comes in the wake of controversial comments by a senator's speech in Federal Parliament earlier during the week.

Saturday, 30 September 2017
Bachar Houli becomes the first Muslim player to win an AFL premiership, with the attacking defender playing a starring role as Richmond romped to its first flag in 37 years.
Thursday, 29 June 2017
The AFL has succeeded in its historic first-ever appeal of a Tribunal decision, with Richmond defender Bachar Houli's ban for striking Carlton's Jed Lamb increased to four matches.

Lamb was left unconscious after the hit and has been ruled out of the side to face Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.

Houli accepted the decision after the verdict was handed down, with the Tribunal originally handing him a two-game suspension.

"The decision's been made and I accept it," Houli said.

"Point number two, my concern is and always has been for Jed and I hope he recovers really quickly.

"The other thing is we move on with life and I'll do my best to help the team prepare for the next few games."

Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Match Review Panel member Nathan Burke has criticised the use of character references from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and media personality and academic Waleed Aly in Bachar Houli's defence at the AFL Tribunal.

"If you start bringing in 'this bloke's a good bloke, this bloke's not a good bloke', who are we to actually judge who is a good bloke and who isn't in the first place?," Burke said on Fox Footy.

"And then what we end up with are disparate sentences. If somebody goes in next week and does exactly the same thing, but doesn't know Waleed Aly, doesn't know the Prime Minister, does that mean they get three or four weeks?

"That's potentially where the issue lies."

The AFL is appealing Bachar Houli's two-game suspension for striking Carlton's Jed Lamb.

"The AFL wishes to advise that general manager football operations Simon Lethlean today notified the AFL Appeal Board and the Richmond Football Club that the AFL would appeal the two-game suspension imposed on Richmond’s Bachar Houli for striking Carlton’s Jed Lamb during the first quarter of Sunday’s round 14 match at the MCG," the League said in a written statement.

"Mr Lethlean said the AFL had appealed the two-game suspension on the grounds the sanction imposed was manifestly inadequate."

Jed Lamb has yet to train since being knocked out by Tiger Bachar Houli but Carlton remains hopeful the forward will be available this week's clash against Adelaide.
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Bachar Houli has been banned for two games after the Tribunal found him guilty of intentionally striking Carlton's Jed Lamb.

Houli categorically denied intending to strike Lamb in the head.

"It's false, absolutely false. I've never hit anyone in my life," Houli said.

Monday, 26 June 2017
Bachar Houli has contacted Jed Lamb to apologise for the swinging arm that ended the Carlton forward's game.

"I texted him last night, obviously feeling remorse about it," Houli said.

"He texted back, obviously said, 'It's all good mate, a bit rattled', but the good thing is that he's stable which is good and that's the most important thing."

Houli denied the contact was intentional.

"Absolutely not, that's unlike me, I've been playing for 11 years and I've never had an incident like that in my life, I should say, not only my footy career," he said.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Richmond extends Bachar Houli's contract until the end of 2018.

Houli had already fulfilled a trigger clause to play on next season, but the Tigers decided to extend the popular veteran's time by a further season.

Thursday, 23 June 2016
Bachar Houli reveals that the wrist injury that has sidelined him for the past six weeks first occurred two years ago.

"It occurred about two years ago but the injury was very minor at the time," Houli said.

"It was a GWS game and I got pushed after I kicked and landed on it … for three or four weeks it was painful but then it went away.

"About four weeks prior to injuring it at training (this year) I was starting to feel it so I was taping my wrist.

"Then that session at training … I basically got tackled and fell to the ground and tried to brace myself by putting my hand out."

Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Bachar Houli is expected to miss between eight and 10 weeks following wrist surgery.
Friday, 13 May 2016
Bachar Houli has suffered a wrist injury and will see a specialist to determine the extent of the injury suffered at training.
Thursday, 21 January 2016
The AFL's Multicultural Program will expand to 18 player ambassadors in 2016 and will also include two female players.

Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio will be joined in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds in Australia’s Game by Brisbane Lions Vice Captain Dayne Zorko, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Fremantle’s Tendai Mzundu, Gold Coast SUNS players Adam Saad and Tom Nicholls, Sydney Swan Aliir Aliir and Western Bulldogs player Jason Johannisen.

The new additions in 2016 join existing Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors David Zaharakis (Essendon), Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn), Shem Tatupu (Hawthorn), Alipate Carlile (Port Adelaide), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Nic Naitanui (West Coast) and Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs).

“The expanded list of 18 ambassadors, representing 13 AFL Clubs and two female Clubs, will play a crucial role in raising cultural understanding, inclusion and participation at all levels of Australian Football,” AFL General Manager Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean said.

Friday, 14 August 2015
Playing Richmond at the MCG on Sunday is about so much more than winning four points for Gold Coast's Adam Saad – it's about meeting a man he's looked up to for nearly a decade.

When Saad was selected by the Suns in last year's Rookie Draft, one of the first men to extend their congratulations was Tiger Bachar Houli. It meant the world to Saad.

Houli was the first Muslim to play AFL when he ran out for Essendon in 2007. Since then, St Kilda's Ahmed Saad (no relation) has become the second and Gold Coast's Saad, the third.

Since being drafted, the 21-year-old dashing defender has kept in regular contact with Houli via phone and text.

Saad hopes to finally meet him in person on Sunday.

"I looked up to him when I was younger and I just wanted to be like Bachar when I grew up, and here I am today – I'm so grateful," Saad said.

"It means a fair bit to play against Bachar … it's going to be a special day on Sunday."

Monday, 27 April 2015
Richmond is investigating an allegation that a prominent media figure vilified midfielder Bachar Houli at the MCG on Friday night.

It is alleged that a comment was made and that comment was heard by a Richmond staff member, who reported the incident.

The allegation reported in News Ltd is that Houli, a Muslim, was called a terrorist.

The abuse allegation centres on Richmond's official match function during the first quarter of the game against Melbourne.

Tiger Houli makes a pilgrim's progress

The person under investigation was sitting in seats outside the Olympic Room, where the function was based.

Richmond CEO Brendon Gale confirmed the investigation.

"We are investigating an allegation of racial abuse directed at Bachar Houli during Friday night's game," Gale said.

"The incident was brought to my attention by a member of our executive team."

Monday, 8 December 2014
Barchar Houli has received a $200,000 grant from the Australian government to help push the 'Bachar Houli Program' into western Sydney.

This year, the program engaged more than 5000 participants from Islamic schools across the country.

In 2015, the national Bachar Houli Leadership Academy, based at Punt Road, will include 35 participants – up from 25 – and will further increase its encouragement and engagement with young Muslims aged between 14-17 across Australia.

And, it will create another leadership academy in western Sydney, which will include a further 35 participants.

"To deal with 70 young men, I'm really looking forward to the challenge and really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer," Houli said.

"We're really prepared to provide them with the best opportunity, not only from a talent pathway but also from a leadership program perspective.

"This began as a Victorian based program and I thought, how big can this become?

"To my amazement, it has grown quite significantly within two or three years and to get the Government's support is outstanding."

Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Port Adelaide is investigating a complaint alleging a spectator racially vilified Richmond defender Bachar Houli during Sunday's elimination final at Adelaide Oval.

The Power and police are seeking more details on the case, with Channel Seven reporting the alleged abuse came from a fan on the scoreboard hill.

Houli, who was born in Australia to Lebanese parents, was allegedly told he was a terrorist.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Brett Kirk is the star of a new film called 'Aussie Rules The World', in which Sydney filmmaker Michael Stringer McIntyre tracked the Kirk family's six-month journey to 20 countries.

The film also features Adam Goodes and Bachar Houli, who talk about their path to the AFL, and men of influence such as Andrew Demetriou, Mike Sheahan and Eddie McGuire.

As part of Kirk's role as the AFL's International Ambassador in 2011, the family was sent on a mission to explore and share the footy gospel, and what the retired footballer found was Australian Football was much more than just a game, it was a pathway to unite communities and break down barriers.

Along the journey, Kirk, his wife Hayley, son Indhi, 6, twin daughters Memphys and Tallulah, 4, and Sadie, 2, found themselves on the war-torn streets of Jerusalem, where they met the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team.

"This film really captures the essence and the spirit of our game and the joy it brings and the barriers it breaks down," Kirk told the AFL Record.

"It connects people and that's what I love about it and that's why I've been intimately involved in it since I was a young boy.

"With the horrible things that are happening in the world at the moment, there is an inspiring story about a team that's made up of half Israelis and half Palestinian players.

"There's a really powerful quote in the film, from an Israeli player, 'if the world was one big footy field, everything would be all right', and it just sits with me now."

Monday, 3 March 2014
Ty Vickery and Bachar Houli have both signed two-year contract extensions with Richmond, while Steve Morris has agreed to a three-year extension with the club.

"It's a great result for the club to lock away three of our most important players for the next few seasons," Richmond general manager of football Dan Richardson said.

"Bachar, Steve and Ty are all integral members of the team, and we look forward seeing them continue to improve in 2014 and beyond.

"Pleasingly for all parties, we were able to finalise these contracts before the start of the season."

Monday, 3 February 2014
Jobe Watson joins Demon Jimmy Toumpas, Magpie Patrick Karnezis, Giant Stephen Coniglio, and Lin Jong from the Western Bulldogs as new multicultural ambassadors in 2014 to help grow the game alongside existing ambassadors Nic Naitanui, Bachar Houli, Karmichael Hunt, Majak Daw, and Alipate Carlile.

"Since the introduction of the AFL multicultural ambassador program in 2012, we are delighted by the enthusiasm, insight and cultural guidance the ambassadors have provided to communities and the AFL industry," AFL chief Andrew Demetriou said.

"In 2014, we are excited to have Jobe, Jimmy, Patrick, Stephen and Lin as part of this important program and look forward to the 10 ambassadors playing a lead role in encouraging individuals and communities to unite through their passion for Australia's game."

Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Bachar Houli completes the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca during his off-season.

"It was just great to zone-out from worldly affairs and focus on myself as an individual," Houli wrote in his blog.

"My 22-day trip was full of reflection and as well as completing one of the five pillars of Islam - it has made me an even more grateful servant of God.

"My reflection included our blessing of good health and the amount of comfort we have living in Australia.

"Seeing so many people with much less in their life made me think we are given too much, especially when these people that are less fortunate seem to be more humble and so happy."

Thursday, 1 August 2013
Bachar Houli says he will offer his support to fellow Muslim and multicultural ambassador Ahmed Saad as the young Saint deals with an alleged breach of the AFL's illicit drugs code.

"I'll be the brother I have been and I'll support him from that perspective of a brother," Houli said.

"I have had a lot to do with him. I speak to him every two weeks."

Monday, 10 December 2012
Bachar Houli is recognised for his community leadership with the inaugural Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding.

The award was established by the University of South Australia's Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Australia Day Council to recognise Australians who contribute to social harmony and community cohesion.

"This award is a credit to the groundbreaking work Bachar is doing to enhance understanding of his religion and increase social inclusion within communities around Australia," AFL national community engagement manager Jason Mifsud said.

"As an Australia Post AFL multicultural ambassador, Bachar works closely with Islamic communities to develop young football talent, while pioneering ways of bridging any divide between Muslim and non-Muslim communities."

Saturday, 10 November 2012
A visa hiccup has prevented Richmond defender Bachar Houli from making a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

"I was packed up and ready to go to do my first pilgrimage," Houli said.

"We have to do it once in a lifetime ... it's basically following what our prophet Mohammed did 1400 years ago.

"Three or four million people get to do this every year; unfortunately I didn't get my opportunity this year."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Bachar Houli has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Richmond until the end of 2014.

"He is one of our hardest-working players, and has been rewarded with his success so far at the club," Richmond's general manager of football Craig Cameron said.

"He is a fantastic leader around the place and a role model in the community."

Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Bachar Houli says he left Essendon for Richmond because of poor treatment at the selection table.

"I got my body to where I wanted it to be, and I was doing everything right in the VFL, and my performances in the VFL were showing that I was good enough to play at the highest level," Houli explained.

"Even (some Essendon) players were getting irritated about why I wasn't playing, and they were raising the question, 'Why isn't he playing?' (I still) don't know the reason.

"I guess I was one of the better players on the field, but I felt I was the scapegoat."

Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Bachar Houli says he relishes being a role model as a devout Muslim in the AFL.

"I'm grateful for the position I've been put in. I've got a role to play and that is to educate others about the way I live and the belief system I follow," Houli said in the lead-up to the AFL's multicultural round.

"It's all about being proud of who you are and talking about it because a lot of people don't understand and it's about educating them that I've got a couple of different ways I go about life."

Richmond's Bachar Houli is fasting two days a week in preparation for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"In terms of training and playing, I'm still trying to work on it. Yesterday I caught up with our fitness coach and we were trying to work out what would suit me," Houli said.

"I don't want the program to change because of me. I want to be at the club as long as I can and I don't want to take a short cut. That's my nature, I try to do everything to the best of my ability."

Wednesday, 17 November 2010
The manager of former Bomber Bachar Houli, Nigel Carmody, is confident his client will get his wish to become a Richmond player.

"The Tigers' preference is to take him so we're looking forward to that all hopefully being finalised," Carmody said.

"He's commenced training [with Richmond] and the draft is a couple of weeks away. We're pretty hopeful he'll find his way to his desired location in a couple of weeks' time."

Monday, 11 October 2010
Disgruntled Essendon midfielder Bachar Houli will be forced to make his way to Punt Road via one of the upcoming NAB AFL Drafts after the Bombers failed to come to a trade agreement with Richmond during trade week.

"Bachar has been offered a significant contract at Richmond and certainly one that we were unable to match. It is a lot more than we could or would offer him," Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton said.

"In the end he has made it very clear that he wants to leave Essendon to go to Richmond."

Friday, 8 October 2010
Essendon midfielder Bachar Houli has quit the club and wants a trade to Richmond.

"He wants an opportunity. Obviously Hirdy has come in now and said that things might change there, but I think the lack of opportunity during the year hurt him," Dan Richardson from his management team at Elite Sports Properties said.

"To be honest, Richmond have been fairly forthright in their desire to get him across. They've said that they're keen for him to have a regular spot in their midfield and that certainly appeals to Bachar."

Former Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd says Matthew Knights' treatment of Bachar Houli caused damage even James Hird couldn't repair.

"I felt like there were stages in the past three years where he deserved to get five, six or seven games on the trot," Lloyd told's Trade Week Radio.

"He never really had the confidence in himself and felt like he was a bit of a whipping boy at times. The [Bombers] beat North, they'd lost six or seven in a row, Bachar gets a chance, has a great game and he's back out of the team within two weeks."

Thursday, 24 September 2009
Essendon's Bachar Houli has had a frustrating two years with injury but thinks he will be ready to go come pre-season training.

"It's been six weeks now, and I went to the doctor to get some more x-rays on the fibula, and it's improving - slowly, though," Houli said.

"They think I'm about four weeks away from running, so hopefully I can be back by pre-season.

"We're back around November 9, so hopefully I'll get a few weeks in me and build a basic running base before we start training, and from there, be ready to go."

Sunday, 22 March 2009
WHEN Bachar Houli became an Essendon player, he wondered how he and his Muslim beliefs would be accepted by his new AFL teammates and the world in which they lived. He need not have worried.

"I thought it was going to be a very, very challenging environment. But from the moment I stepped through the door I had guys come up to me and ask me questions about my background, and want to know even more," said Houli, who was drafted in 2006.

"I felt like they wanted to understand, and it helped me. Within the first two weeks I got to speak to almost every player as an individual, they got to know me, and after that I had so much confidence. I felt comfortable, like I could be myself and express myself."

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