Australia to seek official AFF entry for all football competitions

The Socceroos look to be officially inducted into AFF after having received unanimous support from member associations, although participation in 2014 Suzuki Cup seems unlikely
By Bhas Kunju & Paddy Higgs

With the recent announcement of the Asean Super League set for 2015 and an expanded format for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup which will be co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam, fan anticipation and excitement over the news has been extraordinary.

Asean Football Federation (AFF) confirmed the scrapping of the qualifying process for the AFF Suzuki Cup tournament to allow all 11 member nations to participate in the main tournament.

But some media reports claimed that the expansion meant Australia could make a surprise entry in the competition next year.

Australia have served as an invitited member with the AFF since 2006 with participation and groupings limited to age-group competitions only, while the senior team takes part in the East Asia zone for regional competitions.

However, a Football Federation Australia (FFA) spokesperson speaking exclusively to Goal confirmed that the Socceroos were seeking a full membership in AFF and were only awaiting the formalities for confirmation.

"Asean members have unanimously supported our entry into the AFF," said the representative.

"But it still has to be finalised at the meeting of the extraordinary congress in August."
The membership will be for full entry to the federation and Australian teams will initially start participation at the age-group level and in futsal competitions, with plans for the senior team to be included in AFF competitions in the near future.

The spokesperson also stated that it was 'very unlikely' that the new guidelines will be implemented in time for the Socceroos to be included for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.