A row between A-League clubs and the FFA over releasing players for Olyroos duty has come to a head.
The Mariners have lodged an official dispute claim on behalf of other furious franchises.
PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR FULL STATEMENT FROM CENTRAL COAST MARINERS CEO SHAUN MIELEKAMP:
“Firstly, we would like to congratulate Trent Buhagiar, Danny De Silva and Tom Glover for being recognised as three of the best under 23s players in the country,” Mielekamp said. “The development of our young players has come along in leaps and bounds under Paul Okon and we wholeheartedly believe that it is within the best interest of those young players who are playing regularly in the A-League to stay and keep playing football with their clubs week in week out.
“This tournament will see several young players who have earned their spot miss at least five games.
“For the FFA to take players to a meaningless tournament, like Danny De Silva, who are contributing to the Hyundai A-League will have a negative impact for both the players’ development and the quality of the A-League.
“FFA should be using tournaments that are held outside FIFA windows, to expose new players to the national team frame work who have not been in that environment before.
“Players should not be forced to miss game time with their clubs where the quality of football is higher. If the FFA used these tournaments to blood new young players it would increase the size of their selection pool for important tournaments and provide more development opportunities for more young players.
“FFA will argue that for players like Danny De Silva to increase their chances of being picked for the Socceroos, playing for the Olyroos keeps them firmly in the eye of the national team’s unit. That argument becomes almost null and void when there currently isn’t a Socceroos Head Coach. The staff in the national team’s unit at FFA know what players like Danny can do, they can watch them do it against men in the Hyundai A-League every week. The same goes for other players that have been picked from other clubs.
“With no disrespect to the other nations taking part, players like Danny shouldn’t need to travel to China for a month to be recognised. The decision by FFA is based more on results and winning the tournament rather than the development of our young Australian players which is bizarre because this tournament has no bearing in on the qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games. It’s also worth noting that some of the players picked won’t even be eligible to play in the 2020 Olympic Games due to their age.”