Some Persian Gulf nations want to kick Australia out of the Asian Football Confederation because of the country's dominance in international competition since its inclusion in 2006, The Age's Sebastian Hassett reports.
According to the report, some blame Australia from taking World Cup spots away from other countries in the federation. Australia has twice qualified for recent World Cups. Another factor countries have against Australia is that they are “benefiting hugely from Asian involvement without giving much in return.”
“There are indications that prove that such desire exists among the confederations of west Asia to evict Australia,” AFC president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa said. “But I also know that the Arabs are not the only ones who are not convinced that Australia's membership in Asia's football is feasible."
Salman said he was fine with Australia being part of the federation, but other nations could bring up the issue during the general assembly later this year.
Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said he was surprised by the rumors about AFC countries wanting to get rid of Australia, saying the country has contributed economically to the AFC and is a top television market in the federation.
"We celebrate the diversity of the Asian region and this tournament has shown our contribution can go beyond football to create and foster social and political bridges between key trading partners in the region,” Gallop said.
Australia and South Korea square off in the finals AFC Asian Cup on Saturday.
- Scooby Axson