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Australia could face AFC exit

Australia joined the region in 2006 from the Oceania Football Confederation as the Australian Football Federation looked to give the Socceroos a better chance of qualifying for the World Cup and improve the standard of the A-League through exposure to continental competitions such as the Asian Champions League.

The move has proved a good one for Australia, with the Socceroos having since turned out at two World Cups while the West Sydney Wanderers won last season's Champions League.

However, it seems that this success has seen some of Australia's fellow AFC members sour towards them, with nations from the Gulf region reportedly particularly unhappy with their presence in the confederation, with some suggesting that the decision to admit Australia should be overturned.

"Australia joined the AFC before I was elected as the president. At that time, the AFC general assembly made no resolution about re-assessing Australia's membership to determine whether it will stay or be evicted," Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa told the Dubai newspaper Al-Ittihad.

"There are indications that prove that such desire exists among the confederations of west Asia to evict Australia.

"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."

FFA chief executive David Gallop said that he was shocked by the reports.

"We were extremely surprised to hear of these press reports from west Asia. We are newcomers to AFC but our commitment to participate in competitions, membership of important AFC committees and general sharing of ideas and programs increases every year," he told Fairfax Media.

"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."

At the time of their entrance into the confederation Australia's move was unanimously endorsed by the AFC executive committee as well as getting support from FIFA.


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