Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Sarkies Situation - update
A short time ago I expounded on some of the club-country problems that have arisen since our move into the Asian confederation. On the previous occasion, it was Sarkies' injury on Olyroo duty that caused something of a ripple.
Now there is the rather more serious issue of players being withdrawn from Asian Champions' League duty in favour of preparation for the Olympic qualifiers.
This makes, frankly, little sense. The Olympic football tournament is moderately important, to be sure, but Adelaide United and Sydney FC are both still in with a fair chance of progressing from their repsective ACL groups (Branko Culina's side, of course, is far better placed at the moment).
To deny the clubs the services of certain players a week out from the Olyroos' return match with the Saudis is excessive, in my view. And very unfair on the clubs.
It is, however, consistent with the tendency of Australian football administrators to bend over backwards for their foreign recruits, sometimes at the expense of local clubs and managers (Branko Culina and Aurelio Vidmar, in this case). In the case of the Socceroos, Guus Hiddink and Terry Venables were given the sort of free hand that the likes of Eddie Thomson and Frank Farina would have craved.
Under FIFA regulations, my understanding is that the clubs could insist on retaining their players should they wish. Will they seriously, and publicly, take on the FFA?
I rather doubt it. It has undoubtedly been very important for the clubs and the national body to show a united front in the A-League's formative years, and I hope that some sort of compromise can be reached in this case, one that would allow Nathan Burns and Bruce Djite to appear (or at least be available) for Adelaide United. Likewise Ruben Zadkovich and Nikolai Topor-Stanley for Sydney FC.
Rob Baan has already pulled off something of a coup by securing the services of Neil Kilkenny and Nick Ward in the midst of their English league exertions. But the FFA should be wary of allowing Baan to get his way on this one (much as he is entitled to try). It could set a poor precedent indeed.
My God, so do I! ;-)
Good luck on Sunday BTW. I might come down to Tempe to watch Loko in action...
Baan has shown us that he's a hardarse. If the clubs got their way, it would be interesting to see his reaction. If he reacts at all.