Leeds boss slams Socceroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Leeds boss slams Socceroos

By Paul Mulvey 20/02/2004 05:35:58 AM Comments (0)

A furious Leeds United chief said the Australian Soccer Association did not deserve Mark Viduka as the English premier league club threatened legal action over the striker's ban from Saturday's match against Manchester United.

The ASA invoked a FIFA ruling that players who withdraw from international matches cannot play for their club for five days following Viduka's failure to turn up for Australia's match against Venezuela in Caracas on Thursday.

Leeds, in a desperate dual battle against relegation and administration, has called the suspension an injustice and accused the ASA of a lack of understanding and compassion.

"What's happened is an absolute disgrace. It's an outrage," Leeds chief executive Trevor Birch told the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper.

"The survival of Leeds United is in jeopardy and we have this, all for the sake of a Mickey Mouse game that took place at the other side of the world. Where is the justice in that?

"We've played everything by the book. We've been open and honest. Come on, how insensitive is all this?

"Mark has given a lot to Australia and I can honestly say there is no one more loyal towards the cause than Mark. yet they do this to him.

"I would fully understand it if he told them where to stick international football now. They don't deserve someone like him."

But Viduka said he never considered quitting the Socceroos, despite reports claiming that he had told some Australian players he would retire from international soccer if the ASA forced the ban.

"I want everyone connected with, or following the Socceroos to know that I care passionately about playing for my country and thoughts of retiring from the national team were never an option," he said in a statement issued in Leeds.

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