Sydney FC enters Asian Champions League
Sydney FC CEO George Perry has welcomed Football Federation Australia’s decision to nominate Sydney FC and Adelaide United as Australia’s representatives in the 2007 Asian Champions League, declaring Sydney FC would represent Australia with pride.
Sydney FC CEO George Perry has welcomed Football Federation Australia-s decision to nominate Sydney FC and Adelaide United as Australia-s representatives in the 2007 Asian Champions League, declaring Sydney FC would represent Australia with pride.
Following a meeting of the Asian Football Confederation-s (AFC) Competitions Committee in Kuala Lumpur today, it was deemed that Sydney FC and Adelaide United would headline Australia-s first foray into Asia-s most prestigious club football tournament as Champions and Premiers from the 2005/06 season.
Sydney FC, and Adelaide United, will now compete against the best club teams in Asia starting in March 2007 when the group stage of the AFC Champions League commences.
“We are delighted that Sydney FC will get the opportunity to compete in such a prestigious tournament but more importantly we look forward to the opportunity to represent Australia with pride on the international stage,” Perry said. “It is a great opportunity for Sydney FC to showcase the talents of the players and the Hyundai A-League in general.
“The Asian Champions League has quickly grown into one of Asia-s most successful and wide-reaching sporting competitions with a television audience of more than 150 million people and it is a great opportunity for Sydney FC.”
It is the second time Sydney FC has ventured onto the international football stage after representing Australia so well in 2005 when the club finished 5th in the FIFA Club World Championships in Japan.
In December last year Sydney FC went down 1-0 to CONCACF Champions Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica in Nagoya, Japan before defeating Africa-s “Team of the Century” Al Ahly 2-1 in the 5th/6th playoff in Tokyo.
That trip introduced Sydney FC and the Hyundai A-League to Asia, which Perry believes will be further enhanced through the Asian Champions League.
“The Asian Champions League gives our partners and the Sydney FC club a great chance to increase exposure in the important Asian market,” Perry said. “Sydney FC-s participation in the World Club Championships last year did that but we believe this (Champions League) will take it to another level.
“There is also a great opportunity for Sydney FC fans to see the team play more games; exciting games that see Australian football moving in a fresh new direction. It is also exciting for the players because they will get the chance to test themselves on another level.”
Sydney FC Captain Mark Rudan echoed those sentiments: “It-s great for us as players because it means we are moving a step closer to the full time professionalism we have been crying out for,” Rudan said. “The A-League has seen us take a massive leap forward and this is another step.
“What we have to do is make sure we keep our minds on the job over the concluding stages of this year-s A-League so we get the opportunity to play in the Champions League again the following year.
“This is not a time to rest on our laurels. It is a time to stand up and embrace the opportunity that we have been given through winning the Grand Final.”