Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Australia gets rapid transfer to Asian Confed

FIFA's executive committee today authorised Australia's move from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) to become the 46th member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Australia had not been expected to be given approval until a FIFA Congress meeting in Morocco in September.

"The FIFA executive committee decided to allow Australia to move now and I am very glad it has happened. It makes sense from both the Oceania point of view and for Asia it is good that we have another strong country," Mohamed bin Hammam, AFC president, told Reuters.

The move is expected to end a series of OFC mismatches which have included Australia crushing Pacific island nations American Samoa 31-0 and Tonga 22-0 in the last few years and to give Australia a more realistic chance of reaching future World Cup finals – for the first time since 1974.