GRAHAM Arnold is set to be announced as the Socceroos’ long-term boss in a press conference at FFA HQ in Sydney at 1pm AEDT.
The Sydney FC boss will replace Bert van Marwijk once the World Cup finishes, and will be in charge for the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates.
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In a Sydney FC statement, Arnold said: “This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make as I love the club, the players and the fans so much and it was always my dream to coach Sydney FC.
“I am fully committed to the club, to the players and the fans until the end of the season and I am fully focussed on achieving more success.
“This is a fantastic club and I am thankful to the Chairman, the board and CEO for making available the resources to achieve what we have so far.”
“Graham has done an outstanding job for Sydney FC over the last 4 years and has proven himself to be the best coach in the country,” Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow said.
“Although we will be sad to see him go at the end of the season, I’d like to thank him for the huge contribution he’s made and congratulate him on this new appointment.
“To be blunt we didn’t want Graham to leave and we offered him a substantially bigger and longer contract to stay, but the lure of coaching his country has ultimately proven too much, and having complied with the terms of his contract, we would not stand in his way.
“Graham remains entirely focused on Sydney FC for the remainder of the season and on leading our team to back-to-back Premierships and Championships.”
Given Sydney FC’s interest, FFA CEO David Gallop said in an FFA statement: “I want to thank Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow and Chief Executive Danny Townsend for their understanding and collaboration through all of this,” he said.
“We are making this announcement today to bring clarity to the situation and allow Sydney FC to get on with the job of filling Graham’s very big shoes at the club.
“Graham’s first task after the World Cup will be to prepare the team for the Asian Cup in January next year when we will be defending champions. Until then we are going to be focussed on the World Cup and giving every support to Bert van Marwijk, the players and the support staff.”
FFA Chairman Steven Lowy said: “We developed a set of criteria for the role with the help of three distinguished former Socceroos – Mark Schwarzer, Stan Lazaridis and Mark Bresciano – and our own experienced staff led by FFA’s Head of National Performance and former Socceroo, Luke Casserly, and our National Technical Director, Eric Abrams.
“Based on that we decided to appoint the best person for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and the best person to lead the Caltex Socceroos for the long term after this year’s tournament.
“The long-term appointee did not have to be the best Australian; it had to be the best person when all factors were considered. That person was Graham Arnold.”