Aussies join Asean football

Aussies join Asean football
Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop (Right)

Geographically, they are miles apart but, in the football world, Australia are - for all intents and purposes - a part of South-east Asia now.

In an extraordinary move, Football Federation Australia (FFA) was admitted as a full member of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) after a regional meeting in East Timor on Monday.

This means that the likes of Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and the rest of the mighty Socceroos can participate in AFF competitions such as the Suzuki Cup, which Singapore won last year. But do not hold your breath.

For The Straits Times understands that Australia's move to enter AFF - by way of a unanimous vote by the federation's 11 members - was mainly for administrative and political purposes.

After joining the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, it was the last of the 47-member sides not aligned to one of four regional groups in the continental football organisation.

Having a strong footballing nation in ASEAN also boosts the region's standing on the global football map.

Previously, Australia had functioned as an "invited member" of the AFF, with participation in tournaments restricted to youth teams.

They are currently involved in the AFF Under-16 boys' championship in Myanmar and will also compete in the AFF women's and futsal championships later this year. It is learnt that Australia may attempt to secure a place at next year's Suzuki Cup to be co-hosted by Singapore and Vietnam.

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