Asa Clarifies Position With Regards Recent Allegat

The Australian Soccer Association (ASA) feels compelled to refute recent allegations that Socceroos coach Frank Farina was told who to select for the match against Venezuela last week. It also said media reports about a “player revolt” were wildly inaccurate.

The Australian Soccer Association (ASA) feels compelled to refute recent allegations that Socceroos coach Frank Farina (pictured right) was told who to select for the match against Venezuela last week.  It also said media reports about a “player revolt” were wildly inaccurate.

The Acting Chief Executive of ASA, Mr Richard Johnson, said national team coach Frank Farina had never been advised by ASA which players to choose for international Socceroo duty.

“ASA policy is that the national coach selects the strongest possible Socceroo squad to play at all times,” he said.

“ASA then handles all administrative issues between players and clubs.”

The suggestion that Frank Farina is not in charge of team selection is absolutely incorrect and typical of the misinformation that has been reported in recent days.

“Frank Farina is not only completely and solely in charge of team selection for the Socceroos, but he is totally at ease with ASA's policy on the availability of players selected for international duty,” Mr Johnson said.

“Furthermore, he is very positive about the international program following recent events and the decisions made by ASA.”

Mr Johnson said ASA had inherited a legacy of ad hoc policy on Socceroos selection and was putting in place a process which would be clearly understood by players, clubs and the media.

“This takes some time, but we are already well advanced with plans to establish a European base and appoint an executive to liaise with players and clubs as well as introduce a process for determining the status of injured players.”

ASA would like to set the record straight about the Socceroos- reaction to its policy on Socceroos- selection. While players recognise the competing interests of players, clubs and administrators, and sympathise with the personal situation of Mark Viduka and Scott Chipperfield, the overwhelming feeling from the Socceroo players in Caracas is that there is a FIFA Regulation in place and ASA is adhering to that regulation.

“They felt it would contribute to a better quality international program and ultimately, to the Socceroos chances of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup,” Mr Johnson said.

This feeling was made clear to staff and ASA management during the trip to Venezuela and reinforces the commitment of ASA to stick by its policy on selection for the national team.

The Socceroos captain for the match against Venezuela, Craig Moore, said today: “Every player that I spoke to in Caracas is right behind what ASA are trying to do with the international program for the Socceroos and making sure that everyone selected has the chance to be released by their club.

“These games are very important to us and the players want to play every game when Frank (Farina) chooses us.

“Look, we were very sympathetic to the two lads who did not make it to Caracas, but the players all want to make themselves available for the Socceroo matches and this policy will help any player with their club should they have any extra pressure not to attend international matches.   The boys are behind it and think it-s very good."

Socceroos goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, said today: "I don't believe that this player availability policy should ever be an issue, because as I see it, the ASA policy will always be a minor issue. By minor I mean it hardly will be utilised because most of the players that I have spoken to in Caracas are glad to play for the Socceroos and do make themselves always available.

“If ASA decide to ban players who are unavailable then so be it and whilst I am very sympathetic for Dukes (Mark Viduka) and Chippers (Scott Chipperfield), I can't get involved in that and can only concentrate on my situation.   But for me and many of the other players that I spoken with, it won't be an issue because we love playing for the Socceroos and will be available if selected by Frankie."

Socceroos coach, Frank Farina, said: "I'm very comfortable with the policy that has been set in place by ASA. Unfortunately things don't always go according to plan but I believe it's positive for the long-term success of our international Socceroos program."

ASA stands by its decision to apply its policy on international representation to Mark Viduka and Scott Chipperfield. The personal situation of both players was considered at length but the fact that both had made themselves available for local club games prior to the Socceroos match gave ASA no choice but to invoke Article 40 of FIFA Regulations.

The background to Mark Viduka-s situation has been well-publicised.  In Scott Chipperfield-s case, he had made it clear to team management that he would be available, notwithstanding the recent birth of his son, and had already embarked for Caracas. While delayed in Madrid, team management had suggested two alternative travel plans and explained that Article 40 could be invoked if he did not continue his journey.

If action was not taken against these players it would have run counter to the spirit and letter of both ASA and FIFA policy and be unfair to those players who did travel to Caracas. Many of these players were under extreme pressure from their clubs not to make the trip and to withdraw from the squad.  It would also have been unfair to those clubs that, under very difficult circumstances, released players to represent Australia against Venezuela.

ASA appreciates the spirit in which both Mark and Scott have accepted the decision and is taking a number of steps to improve future liaison with players and clubs in Europe, including establishing a Socceroos base in Europe.