Australia a step closer to Asian link - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia a step closer to Asian link

By Guy Hand 23/03/2005 09:57:16 PM Comments (0)

Australian soccer is on the verge of its most important coup - joining the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and earning the chance to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals directly through Asia.

In a move which could mean rich financial rewards for the sport and mouth-watering soccer on a regular basis, Asian football chiefs on Wednesday night endorsed Australia's bid to join the AFC.

But AFC secretary-general Peter Velappan warned Australia's link with Asia was not yet a done deal.

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), of which Australia is currently a member, must approve Australia's departure at its executive meeting next month.

And the move from the OFC to the AFC would then have to be rubber-stamped by soccer's world governing body, FIFA.

"Australia has to resign from the OFC. Then they have to inform FIFA and then they apply to the AFC," Velappan told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the AFC held an executive meeting.

"All these procedures will take time. In principle Asia is happy to have them.

"Now we just await the timeframe in order to realise Australia's wish."

Australia is currently a member of the OFC, which does not have its own World Cup finals direct qualification spot.

Instead, the Oceania winner - which is usually Australia - must play off against the fifth-placed South American team to qualify.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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