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Your verdict: Club Vs Country

Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell have failed to report for duty with the Socceroos and Australia coach Frank Farina has expressed his frustration at their unavailability for Wednesday's friendly against Venezuela in Caracas.

Liverpool winger Kewell stayed in England on medical advice. 'I've been told by two doctors I wouldn't be advised to go on a plane for that long because it (injured ankle) would swell up.'

Meanwhile, the Australian Soccer Association (ASA) turned down a written request from relegation-threatened Leeds to keep Viduka and expected him to show up for training.

  • Email with your thoughts.

  • National team selectors must accept that players wages are paid by the club. Furthermore, players will only shine under the right circumstances with the clubs concerned - coaching and training regimes, etc. Clubs incur enormous expense in attracting and developing the players who become national stars.

    Surely it is not unreasonable that club managers will try to protect these players who are effectively club assets.

    Perhaps clubs will be more willing to release players for national duty under a system of contractual compensation. That way, clubs would receive some form of compensation from FIFA or from the country he represents, for the loss of a player's services from a club match in any recognised competition.

    National team selectors and coaches need to have a close look at themselves - it seems to be a one way road of take, take, take. What is being offered to the clubs that have spent the time, effort and money to realise each player's potential so that they become noticed by the country selectors ?

    It used to be that selection to play for your country was the highest accolade, something players would kill for. I suspect that also during a time when the game was played by individuals who played because they loved the game.

    Times have changed, unfortunately. Therefore, it is also time for FIFA to act; to pave the way for players to represent their club and country without prejudice.
    Greg Cheah, Australia

    If the Australian FA really are going to push to suspend Viduka for not showing up for their friendly then how sad is that. His team are in a terrible situation and they are going to push for a suspension for their little game.

    If it was a qualifier I could understand, but this is a joke now. If FIFA actually allow this to happen then they certainly are a bunch of idiots who get more idiotic by the day.
    Chris Moore

    It's just another case of star players being caught between a rock and a hard place in the club versus country fiasco. It's a very difficult situation for all concerned.

    Viduka has only just returned from a few weeks compassionate leave in Melbourne and his club Leeds United desperately need his services against Manchester United on Saturday. Kewell says he has picked up a bit of a knock (being conveniently substituted about five minutes from the end of Liverpool's game against Portsmouth) and doesn't want to risk playing for Australia "just for a friendly".

    You can understand the frustration of the club managers just as you can sympathise with the international coaches wanting every chance to mould their squad into a team that can qualify for the World Cup.

    It's a no win situation all round. FIFA are the only ones who can sort out this mess where international matches clash with club matches in their demands on key players.

    Are FIFA becoming as ineffective as the United Nations in sorting a crisis? The term 'paper tiger' springs to mind.
    Ray Connew, Australia

    I agree with some analysts who say that Viduka should be treated as a special case given his recent personal difficulties. He's been a great servant to the national team in the past and you can't help but respect the blokes attitude to Leeds' plight.

    As for the Kewell situation I not so sure that he's been entirely up front with what the real reason is for not playing in Caracas. I suspect he's not interested in travelling that far for a friendly.
    Andy Taylor, Australia

    Once again the greedy, selfish attitude of the ENGLISH clubs is destroying the game for us Aussies.

    When will English clubs start complying with FIFA rules and respect the wishes of our Association. I think FIFA should punish LEEDS to the max and even punish Viduka (and any other player faking injury - including that pretty boy Kewell).

    If this was Beckham refusing to play for England it would be front page news on the Times and it would even replace the page 3 girl in The Sun.

    When will the English wake up and realise that the 'colony' is moving on and it is creating its own history in the world of sport - don't hold us back.

    C'mon FIFA - show us what you are made off!
    Kotch, Australia

    Look it's time, once and for all, to end this non-debate regarding the never ending saga of club v country. No sooner has the African cup of Nations ended and the tedious Kanoute row finished than we are faced with the seemingly perennial problem of Leeds United v the Australian F.A..

    First of all I'll declare my interest and disclose my allegiance to the Leeds cause. We desperately need Viduka for this game. Not just because he's Mark Viduka but because of the frame of mind he is in.

    He's fit, committed and raring to go. He seems willing to do his utmost to galvanise the squad for the fight against relegation.

    Players are only chosen to play for their country once they play for a club. It seems that when it comes to international football patriotism raises its head we all lose our ability to think rationally.
    T. Kane, UK

    We saw it with the African Nations Cup and now we are seeing European club's reluctance to release players for international duty once again.

    Because of FIFA's five day rule clubs are now conjuring up injuries to prevent their players from reporting for international duty.

    Players who are included in the squad should have to report anyway, even if they don't play, then we will see a reduction in these timely niggling injuries.
    Ken Spade, England

    I don't think this problem is solely an Australian problem. Sven Goran Eriksson has had to deal with the withdrawl of Sol Campbell, Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard from his original squad - all of whom played at the weekend.
    Nick Swailes, Hong Kong

    Until FIFA can come up with a way to schedule games outside of club games there will always be this problem... it has always been a problem for England as long as I can remember.

    Reduce the EPL by two clubs and eliminate the Mickey Mouse cup! That frees up more time in the calendar and if every domestic league only had FA Cup style competition and their League Title then you could play the Champions league and UEFA Cup games earlier. This means overall, fewer games and a slightly shorter season which would provide time for internationals.

    Viduka is paid a ton of money by Leeds and they are in grave danger of going down which could spell the end of a great club... it's far more important than a friendly in my book.

    His country knows what he can offer them by now, try some untried players and stop the bloody moaning. As for Harry Kewell, he is just a conniving little brat and only cares about himself... thought you would have learned by now... dump him!
    Gooner, USA

  • Also, the FA Cup Quarter-final draw....

    This draw ensures that at least one mediocre Nationwide team will go through to the semi-finals, and maybe two. What used to be considered 'romantic' now looks anachronistic.

    The FA Cup needs to introduce a seeding system, something Wimbledon figured out about a century ago.
    John Green

    If Arsenal beat Liverpool, assuming they get past Pompey, I can't see anybody stopping the Gunners from winning another FA Cup.

    Manchester United will probably be the only obstacle but Arsenal are playing much better football at the moment.
    James Griffin

    It's a shame Sheffield United didn't get home draw but I can see them beating either Sunderland or Birmingham.

    The Blades had a great cup run last year and I think they will get to the Semi's again this year - bring on the big boys.
    Adam Principle

    Great stuff for Tranmere and Millwall. At least one of them will have a semi-final showdown. Sheff United are there again - two semi-finals in a row. Man United vs Arsenal is a good bet. What a way to end a season potentially.

    The Draw is a fix again as most West Ham fans would had put serious money on West Ham being drawn away to Man Utd. It happens time and time again, funny how they didn't get Arsenal ?
    Wayne Marston

  • Also, Real Madrid's dubious penalty....

    On Sunday an error was made in Spain. No doubt about that - but...

    The Marchena-Raul tussle was shown by the producer from many angles. From the angle that appeared to be most similar to Oliva's angle its seems that Raul is pulled down because he - by leaning backwards - forces his right shoulder under Marchenas right arm. Marchena - battling to remain on his feet - appears to foul Raul - from that angle.

    If the incident had been taking place outside the area, there would (probably 5 out of 10 times) have been given a freekick. Off course you have to be 100% sure of your decision when you are dealing with a penalty - but sometimes mistakes are made.

    And that is what Sunday's decision was. A mistake. No controversy needed about no refs real favours. Please.
    Morten Larsen, Copenhagen

    Just a comment on the penalty issue. Raul says there was contact, of course yes as he was leaning on to the defender and let himself drop like a rock while the defender left him alone.

    There is no way that was a penalty and it would seem that someone did not want Real to suffer the shame they deserved.

    Valencia should keep up their play and know that they can still win if they get the results. The referee should not be allowed to officiate at such games in the future.
    Samba, South Africa

    I believe that decisions such as these should be looked into. It is a burning shame that Real Madrid is so powerful, and decisions such as this one have to save them.
    Dixie Browne, West Indies

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