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Feb 23, 2012

Palmer again on crash course with FFA

In what appears to be another raspberry blown at Football Federation Australia (FFA), Gold Coast United boss Clive Palmer has challenged the Olyroos to take on his under-23 outfit in a $50,000 "winner-takes-all clash".

Palmer is again on a crash course with FFA boss Ben Buckley after seeking to have the big bucks game played in order to highlight selection flaws in the Olyroos' doomed London Games qualifying campaign.

"I'm prepared to put up $50,000 for the winning team, which I am confident will be the Gold Coast," Palmer said in a statement.

"We have won the National Youth League for the past two seasons and a lot of these guys have now made their mark in the A-League.

"I'm sure our boys would give the Olyroos a good hiding and show what could have been achieved had there been a fairer selection system."

Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar was limited to picking three players from each A-League club and was further hampered when overseas clubs did not release the likes of Tommy Oar and Matthew Leckie because the qualifiers fell on non-FIFA dates.

In the end, the Olyroos missed Olympic qualification for the first time in 28 years with a 1-0 loss to United Arab Emirates early on Thursday (AEDT).

Palmer hoped the FFA would agree to have the fixture scheduled "at the earliest convenient date".

But the United boss picked a bad week to ask Buckley for a favour.

On Monday Palmer was in damage control after calling the A-League "a joke" and soccer "a hopeless game".

An unimpressed Buckley responded by saying he would reassess the Gold Coast club's future at the end of the current season.

Not one to take a backward step, Palmer described the Olyroos' failure to qualify as a "national embarrassment".

"Australia has missed out on playing in the Olympics for the first time in 28 years and this was largely due to the selections," he said.

"The Olyroos have been ordinary in attack yet Gold Coast players who have been starring in the A-League like Ben Halloran and James Brown couldn't make the squad coach Aurelio Vidmar took away for the Asian qualifiers.

"Ben Halloran scored one of the goals of the season against Central Coast last night - imagine what a difference his speed and skill could have brought to the Olyroos.

"Originally there were no Gold Coast players in the Olyroos squad for these qualifiers and they only called up our defender Dylan McGowan due to injury."

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