Asa In Discussions With Viduka Over Non-appearance
The Australian Soccer Association (ASA) today confirmed it was in ongoing discussions with Leeds United striker Mark Viduka regarding his non-appearance for Socceroo duty as the senior national team begins its preparations to face Venezuela in Caracas on Wednesday 18 February 2004 (10am AEST Thursday 19 February).
The Australian Soccer Association (ASA) today confirmed it was in ongoing discussions with Leeds United striker Mark Viduka (pictured right) regarding his non-appearance for Socceroo duty as the senior national team begins its preparations to face Venezuela in Caracas on Wednesday 18 February 2004 (10am AEST Thursday 19 February).
Viduka, who was selected in the 20-man squad by national team coach Frank Farina last Wednesday, was due to arrive in Caracas on Sunday afternoon following a pre-booked flight from London. Fellow Socceroo team-mates from the United Kingdom were also on the flight.
ASA advised that following the selection of Mark Viduka in the original 20-man squad, Leeds United wrote to ASA outlining the request of Mark Viduka to be withdrawn from the squad. ASA declined this request and continued dialogue with both Mark Viduka and Leeds United FC to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Following Mark Viduka's non-attendance in Caracas after national team selection, ASA wishes to reinforce its policy on the availability of selected players for international representative duty.
ASA policy is that it expects any player selected by the national team coach for international duty to make himself available and be released by his club. ASA has confirmed the policy to ensure that the Socceroos have the best possible preparation, as a team, to ultimately qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Germany 2006. ASA will utilise FIFA Regulations if required to enforce this policy.
ASA and the Socceroo team are committed to ultimately achieving FIFA World Cup qualification. The match against Venezuela is an important step in the preparation of the team to achieve this goal. The successful OFC qualifier will face a play-off in November 2005 against the fifth-placed CONMEBOL team, currently Venezuela. This match is one of the few opportunities available to experience South American conditions and opponents due to the congested 18-round CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying schedule.
ASA is currently seeking full medical reports from the respective clubs on the players who have been ruled out of the Socceroo squad on medical grounds, following the weekend's round of matches. Written requests have been sent to Liverpool FC (Harry Kewell, England), Club Atletico Osasuna (John Aloisi, Spain) and Genclerbirligi Spor Kulubu (Josip Skoko, Turkey).
Blackburn Rovers have already provided a complete medical summary to ASA regarding Brett Emerton's injury. Empoli's Vince Grella is currently undergoing extensive medical treatment from the Socceroos staff in Caracas, in an effort to be ruled fit for the match.
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