Adelaide face controversial Asian qualifier

Australian club criticise 'flawed' court ruling setting up sudden-death AFC Champs League playoff against Persipura.

    Club chairman Greg Griffin has criticised the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reinstate Indonesian club Persipura Jayapura, describing the outcome as 'flawed' [GETTY]

    Adelaide United must play Persipura Jayapura on Thursday in a bid to qualify for the Asian Champions League after the Indonesian side were controversially reinstated to the competition.

    Adelaide were initially given a direct passage into the Champions League main draw after Persipura were ruled ineligible because they play in the unsanctioned Indonesian Super League.

    However the club appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and were provisionally reinstated earlier this month to the Champions League. A final ruling will not be determined until next month.

    Criticism

    Adelaide have been forced into rushed preparations for the two-legged playoff, and club chairman Greg Griffin was this week reported as describing the CAS decision as "flawed.''

    "The appeal should never have got past first base,'' Griffin was quoted as saying in the Adelaide Advertiser.

    "The Indonesian federation, AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and Adelaide United all have reasonable arguments that there is simply no basis for CAS to make any decision.''

    The Indonesian Super League was the country's top-tier competition until it was replaced with the Premier League last year by the Indonesian football federation (PSSI).

    Persipura has declined invitations to join the PSSI-sanctioned Indonesian Premier League, while CAS said the AFC refused PSSI's request to enter the Persija Jakarta team instead of Persipura.

    The CAS ruling forced the AFC to hastily schedule Thursday's match and Persipura only arrived in Adelaide on Wednesday.

    Qualifications doubt

    The confusion surrounding the match intensified with Adelaide coach John Kosmina failing to satisfy the champion's league criteria as a coach.

    Kosmina holds an AFC B coaching license, not the A-licence required - meaning his assistant coach Luciano Trani will lead United for the match.

    Trani said he and players were trying to ignore the mess and concentrate on defeating an opponent they know little about.

    "They are just unknowns to us,'' Trani said Wednesday.

    "But as long as we play well, it doesn't matter who we play against - we'll win.''

    Trani said the Reds only received scouting videos of Persipura 24 hours ago.

    "They're a side that is typically Asian football - technically based, and they like to play the ball and move and go and get numbers forward of the ball.''

    SOURCE: AP


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