How crafty Ange might have last laugh on FFA

The farce surrounding Ange Postecoglou's future has taken another bizarre twist, with claims the Socceroos coach is playing a Machiavellian game of brinksmanship with FFA in the hope his new bosses might soon be based in Zurich rather than Sydney.

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou Source: AAP

Postecoglou's refusal to clarify whether he will lead Australia to the World Cup should they qualify is, according one well placed source, designed to heap pressure on his beleaguered bosses, FFA chairman Steven Lowy and CEO David Gallop, at a time when the FFA board faces being usurped by FIFA over non-compliant governance structure.

The source claimed that Postecoglou's seemingly enigmatic and erratic behavior of late is actually anything but.

Rather, it's a calculated ploy to kick FFA when they are already down and heading towards life support.

It's no secret that Postecoglou has little regard for the FFA hierarchy, particularly Gallop - despite the recent PR spin of detente and cordiality between two polar opposites.

"This is a chess move on Ange's behalf," said the source.

"He's fully aware of the vulnerability of the FFA with a FIFA takeover looming at the end of November and he's doing his bit to check mate them, along with the A-League clubs and the PFA.

"His aim was to put FFA in a no-win situation, and he's accomplished that quite brilliantly.

"Now they're damned if they sack him, damned if they don't.

"Ange feels he's been treated poorly by Gallop, and is not prepared to be anybody's puppet.

"In a sense he has nothing to lose in this whole saga, because he can simply return to club management."

The source declared that Postecoglou would rather take his chances and answer to a FIFA normalisation committee than the FFA, in the event Australia beat Honduras next month to qualify for Russia 2018.

Postecoglou has never forgiven the FFA for forcing him to pen a letter of contrition over his comments regarding a pay dispute between the Socceroos players and FFA ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in 2015.

He said the dispute had the potential to disrupt his team's preparations, and felt publicly humiliated by the chastisement from Head Office, delivered grim reaper-like by Gallop.

The relationship never fully recovered, with Postecoglou in a no-lose position as the FFA fights their own internal battles with the game's stakeholders, whilst global policeman FIFA prepare to call time on the whole unseemly affair.

The eye of this perfect storm comes next month with Australia's home and away playoff against Honduras (November 10 and 15) to be followed by FIFA's decision on November 30 on the future of the FFA board.

"Maybe Ange will outsmart everybody and simply continue on quite happily in the role with a new employer in the form of FIFA," added the source.

"Obviously the uncertainty he's created around what he'll do is not ideal for the players.

"But he'll feel he can get them back onside fairly easily if they do the business against Honduras and qualify.

"His view appears to be that FFA is virtually gone and he's not averse to bringing further pressure or embarrassment on them.

"If there are ultimately new people (FIFA) in charge, then he'll be more than prepared to look at working with them."

Postecoglou's appearance on Monday's Australian Story on ABC saw him again shrug off - quite literally - questions over his future.

His nonchalance provoked righteous howls of indignation from his detractors while his cheer squad remained unmoved.

The waters haven't stopped churning since news broke of his likely exit strategy in the wake of Australia squeezing past Syria last month to keep their World Cup qualification hopes afloat .

Postecoglou's critics say he is treating the job as a plaything with scant regard for the lofty office in which he's been entrusted.

But maybe, just maybe, Postecoglou might prove to be smartest strategist of them all. Both on and off the field.

November will tell, one way or another.

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4 min read
Published 25 October 2017 at 10:13am
By Dave Lewis