Football Australia today announced that overseas-based players will be selected for planned Olyroos activity throughout the forthcoming FIFA international window (31 May – 15 June).
The decision means that A-League clubs will retain young players in contention to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament for the A-League 2021 Finals Series, while at the same time affording overseas-based players the opportunity to press their claims to be selected in Graham Arnold’s final 18-player squad for Tokyo.
Arnold, together with Football Australia management and staff, has spent time over the past two months meeting with officials, head coaches, and club representatives from across the A-League, informing them of Football Australia’s plans as the Olyroos set their sights on Tokyo, and the Socceroos get set to resume FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualification in Kuwait.
“It has been great speaking about the plans for the Olyroos and Socceroos with coaches and officials from across the A-League, including APL Commissioner Greg O’Rourke and Managing Director Danny Townsend,” Arnold said. “A-League coaches – many of whom are former Australian representatives – and clubs are supportive of Australia’s national teams, so it is important that we have been able to provide them with clarity that the next Olyroos squad will be drawn entirely from overseas-based players.”
“Together with my staff I have watched and analysed every A-League match this season. We have a clear picture of the players available to us for the Olyroos from the A-League, and a strong number of A-League-based players are in contention to make the final squad for Tokyo. Importantly, the next window will provide overseas-based players with a chance to press their claims for inclusion, too.”
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said the collaborative process has ensured that stakeholders across the game are aligned as Australian football enters an exciting period both domestically and internationally.
“Today’s announcement underlines the ongoing collaboration that exists between Football Australia and the APL,” Johnson said. “It also underscores the importance of an aligned Domestic Match Calendar, which observes FIFA windows, to ensure that we can have our best talent available to represent their country. We introduced the Domestic Match Calendar for 2021 earlier this year and it has been a focal point for the discussion with APL as we look to set it for 2022 and beyond in a manner which supports both the A-League and out national teams.”
“It’s exciting to think that players from the A-League will be starring in the Finals Series shortly before they could be named in an elite list of footballers to have been selected to represent Australia at an Olympic Games, and match up against Argentina, Spain, and Egypt.”
APL Commissioner, Greg O’Rourke, said: “The APL clubs’ commitment to developing the best young players to represent Australia is clear in the number of them from the A-League who are in contention to make the Olyroos squad for the Olympics in Tokyo.
“Dozens of young players have been given their chance in the A-League this season and produced so much attacking, fast-flowing football. With so many teams in contention for the Finals, the games they play over the rest of the season will only enhance their international potential.
“The clubs are proud to be the nursery of young talent which hopefully will become the backbone of the Olyroos and later the Socceroos and drive Australia’s performance on the world stage.”
While no Australia-based players will be selected for Olyroos preparatory activity in May/June, all players irrespective of age, league or location remain eligible to be selected in the Socceroos’ squad for their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers in Kuwait.
The Socceroos will play four crucial FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers against Kuwait (3/6), Chinese Taipei (7/6), Nepal (11/6) and Jordan (15/6) over 12 days in June. The FIFA window commences on 31 May and concludes on 15 June.
The Olyroos’ final 18-player squad for the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament is currently scheduled to be announced in late June.