Australia's top club may miss Champions League

The A-League's runnerway leader in its 2006/07 season, Melbourne Victory, seems to be closer to missing out on qualifying for the 2007/08 Asian Champoions League. The draw for the ACL takes place in December, well before the A-League season finishes, and the Asian Football Confederation wants Football Federation Australia to name its representatives before the draw is made. The FFA is meeting its Asian counterparts next month to argue a case for simply putting the names Australian team 1 and Australian team 2 into the draw but is not confident of success. If the AFC insists, Australia could be represented instead by the 2005/06 minor premier (table leader), Adelaide United and the Grand Final winner, Sydney.

The issue is complicated by FFA not organising a National Cup as most countries are represented in the ACL by their League champion and Cup winner. "We have requested for the minor premier and the grand final winner to go in, and we have been lobbying for that to happen but there are no guarantees. There is a meeting in November where we will continue to push that case," Matt Carroll, the operations manager of the A-League, explained to Michael Lynch of The Age.

He added that "teams that qualify one year can change a lot in personnel and form for a competition that is taking place a year later. There are other countries that are in the same boat as us. We have got support on this from Japan — they had one team qualify for the Champions League one year and get relegated the following."

See also: Melbourne Victory eyes 100,000-capacity stadium (21 Oct)