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The Toe Poke

Ban may cost Bresciano the Aust captaincy

As stunned Socceroos teammates rally around him, Mark Bresciano's national captaincy ambitions will likely be thwarted by FIFA banning him for four months in murky circumstances.

Bresciano trained with his Socceroos teammates in Sydney on Sunday as Australian officials scrambled for more details about his suspension.

The Australian midfielder has been suspended by FIFA for four months and fined $1.9 million for an illegal transfer between clubs in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

"Obviously it was a massive shock," Bresciano's Socceroos teammate midfielder Mark Milligan told reporters on Sunday.

"I'm still at a little bit of a loss as to the exact dimensions of what is going on.

"It seems like a strange situation and I'm sure we'll all find out more as time goes on."

Bresciano has expressed his desire to captain the Socceroos, should new coach Ange Postecoglou opt to replace incumbent Lucas Neill.

Postecoglou will announce the captaincy on Monday.

But Bresciano's bid for the leadership role hit a hurdle with the FIFA ban, which could rule him out of a crucial chunk of Australia's preparation for the World Cup in Brazil starting next June.

FIFA has yet to specify details of the ban and were not immediately available for comment.

The 33-year-old Bresciano joined Al Gharafa last August, transferring from Al Nasr in the United Arab Emirates.

But Al Nasr, angered at the departure of the Australian, challenged the transfer and FIFA ruled the move broke the sport's laws.

According to Al Nasr, Bresciano told the club he was going on holiday and simply refused to return after demanding more money.

Al Nasr trumpeted FIFA's decision as a victory for the club, saying it would now be able to recover 1.375 million euros from Bresciano.

Al Nasr confirmed world soccer's governing body had banned Bresciano for four months and also barred Al Gharafa from registering any new player for a year.

"Al Nasr confirms ... the recovery of their rights in accordance with the law which regulates contracts between players and clubs in the world," the club said in a statement on their website.

But Bresciano's new club, Al Gharafa, said they would appeal FIFA's verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A hearing date has not been set.

Football Federation Australia said on Saturday they would join Bresciano's fight against the ban, which doesn't prevent him playing for the Socceroos against Costa Rica in a friendly on Tuesday night.


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