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"Caretaker" FFA can't appoint new Socceroos coach: Griffin


Football Federation Australia will begin its search for a new Socceroos coach amid unprecedented uncertainty over its place in Australian football.

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Ange Postecoglou’s resignation yesterday comes a week before FFA’s annual general meeting, at which stakeholders will vote on an expanded Congress at FIFA’s behest.

Fail to reach consensus next Thursday and FIFA is expected to sack chairman Steven Lowy and his board, and install a normalisation committee to temporarily run the code.

Should that occur, Lowy will not be there to sign off on a new Socceroos coach, as his father Frank did with Postecoglou four years ago.

The precarious state of affairs prompted Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin, speaking on behalf of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA), to declare FFA no longer had the right to appoint a national-team boss.

Griffin, describing FFA as being in caretaker mode, demanded no decision be made until the game’s ugly impasse between itself and A-League clubs, the players’ union and state federations is resolved.

“FFA should remember they are in effect in caretaker mode and they should not be making decisions that have an impact on the game going forward until the position of FIFA is made known,” he told SBS.

“They should not be rushing to appoint a favoured person in this process.

“It would be wrong on almost every front. Because of the political system that they have created, they can’t now pursue appointments which may impact upon a new board going forward.”

The fraught situation adds another layer of complexity to FFA’s bid to recruit Postecoglou’s replacement in time for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

With a four-month break until the next international window and Congress D-Day looming, chief executive David Gallop stressed FFA will take its time getting the appointment right.

“We don’t play till March, so we have got a bit of time and it’s important we take that time to look at what is out there,” Gallop said.

“We will take our time and make sure we get the right person for the job.”

That person won’t be Matildas boss Alen Stajcic, who last night affirmed he isn’t interested in changing lanes to the Socceroos.

Stajcic has managed the women’s national team since 2014, and like Postecoglou, has managed some famous wins.

This year’s Tournament of Nations success was just a friendly competition, but the Matildas did inflict a first-ever defeat of world champions USA on their way to lifting the trophy.

There are more comparisons to be made with the resigned Socceroos boss, including near-slavish devotion from his players and the professionalisation of standards around the team.

Stajcic has led the Matildas from outside the top 10 to be one of international football’s most feared teams heading into next year’s Asian Cup and the 2019 World Cup.

And those are the challenges he wants to take on, not the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia.

“I think looking after this team is hard enough ,” he said.

“I’m honoured and privileged be coaching this team and we’re on such a wonderful ride at the moment.

“I wouldn’t contemplate anything other than taking this team over the next 18 to 24 months and possibly even longer and see where we can get to.

“We’re on a good wave at the moment as long as we stay grounded and humble, we can get to where we want to which is a top three team.”

Stajcic would have been a long shot for the role, with few elite women’s managers jumping over to the elite men’s game.

He is a self-confessed Socceroos tragic and called Postecoglou “irreplaceable” in the short-term this week.

“I’ve been watching since my first game that we lost against New Zealand in 1981,” he said.

“He’s left a legacy and the Socceroos will get bigger, better, stronger over the next 12 months.”


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