ANGE Postecoglou’s World Cup planning has been thrown into chaos after a year-long dispute over Mark Bresciano’s transfer to Qarar exploded back into life.
The veteran midfilder, expected to be cast as the cornerstone of Postecoglou’s blueprint for Brazil, learnt on Friday that he had been fined Euros1.3m and suspended for four months over the circumstances of his transfer from the UAE to Qatar last year.
The dramatic development left Football Federation Australia lawyers scrambling over the weekend to ascertain the likely timetable of Breciano’s appeal against the sentence, which threatens to derail his hopes of playing in next year’s World Cup.
Though Bresciano has been cleared to play for Australia on Tuesday against Costa Rica by FIFA, it remains unclear what his staus will be while the appeal is heard – or when that will be.
Bresciano has also taken legal advice, after being assured in July last year that his switch from UAE side Al Nasr to Qatari team Al Gharafa was legal.
Reports at the time said he had bought out the second year of his contract, but Al Nasr were adamant he had to stay with them after a season in which he had finished top scorer.
His new club Al Gharafa has been banned from making any transfers for a year, though yesterday they insisted it was a matter for the player and his previous club.
Despite knowing his dream of playing in a third World Cup was under severe threat, Bresciano completed a full training session with the Socceroos yesterday and stayed behind to sign autographs for fans, before climbing on the bus with the rest of his teammates.
Brecsciano joined Al Gharafa last July, 12 months after quitting Serie A to play out his football in the Middle East, later saying the move had reignited his love for the game.
Al Nasr appealed to FIFA over his departure and this week the world governing body handed down the swingeing penalty, telling Al Nasr that they are entitled to compensation.
Al Gharafa have appealed against the verdict to the Court of Arbitration in Sport but unless it is heard by the early part of next year, Bresciano faces the prospect of being suspended during, or at the very least for the entire build-up to, next year’s World Cup.
FIFA’s appeals procedure is notoriously slow moving, both in terms of scheduling hearings and delivering a verdict.
Unless Bresciano’s appeal is heard successfully realistically by the end of January – or after next year’s World Cup – the ban will all but rule him out of the tournament in Brazil.
In a statement, Al Gharafa’s general secretary, Jassim Al Manosuri, insisted the Qatari side were an innocent party.
“This is not a unique case, there are many precedents, we as a club are not a part of this case,” he said.
“As the player ended his contract with his former club before joining us, our next step will be filing an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport.”
Football Federation Australia said it was taking legal advice. “We will do all we can to assist Mark Bresciano and his representatives in having the judgement swiftly overturned and set aside,” an FFA spokesperson said.
“The advice from FIFA is that the suspension doesn’t apply to Tuesday night’s match against Costa Rica. Marco is available for selection and will continue his preparations with the squad.”