Socceroos to look into guest appearance at Copa America
FOOTBALL Federation Australia says it will make inquiries about playing in the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, with the expansion of the South American tournament announced on Wednesday.
The host Brazilian football federation (CBF) had a proposal to expand the competition from 12 teams to 16 for the 2019 tournament accepted.
That would mean the Copa America would consist of 10 South American teams - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela - and six guest teams.
European countries such as France, Portugal, Spain and Italy have been proposed as guests, while Brazilian newspaper Globoesporte report an Asian guest is a possibility, as CONMEBOL (South American confederation) aims to take advantage of the globalisation of football.
That opens the door for the Socceroos to compete in the event and although FFA has admitted they have not been approached to participate, there is an intention to make inquiries.
"We have not sought nor received any proposal in relation to that tournament at this point," an FFA spokesperson said.
"It is a high profile, high quality tournament and we do intend to make inquiries about it in the near future.
"We will need to weigh up the pros and cons particularly in relation to the opportunity to play high quality opposition in Australia at that time of the year."
The Copa America will take place from June to July in 2019, meaning the Socceroos could have a jam-packed schedule of international tournaments, with the 2019 Asian Cup to be played in the UAE in January.
The Copa America is widely considered the third most prestigious international football tournament - after the World Cup and European Championships - and is fiercely contested by its participating teams.
Guest nations are not new. Five from central and North America competed at the centenary edition last year including the United States and Mexico. Asia has been represented once before with Japan competing in 1999.
The Socceroos also have a high-profile international friendly against Brazil in June at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which will also host a blockbuster match between South American rivals Brazil and Argentina.
The 2017 Confederations Cup is also on the horizon with Australia set to face Chile, Germany and Cameroon.