Date: May 02 2012
Reigning W-League champion Canberra United is confident Football Federation Australia will give it the green light to compete in a mooted women's Asian Champion's League later this year.
Capital Football chief Heather Reid has recently returned from Japan, where she entered in negotiations with the Japanese Football Federation which is keen to host the inaugural event in November.
The competition would be contested annually by the W-League winner and the top team from each of Japan and Korea's domestic leagues.
The JFF has intimated it is prepared to cover the operating costs for the competing teams, which makes the proposition all the more viable for United.
''Clearly Japan wants to be a leader in this regard, they've got some very strong interest from prospective sponsors and what they're hoping to do is provide invitations to the participating clubs at no cost,'' Reid said.
''The timing of this is critical and if the Japanese preference remains November it will be during the W-League season, which means the FFA would have to accommodate our absence for a week. I've sent a report back to the FFA, and there's quite a lot of excitement about the prospect of a Champions League.''
It is unclear whether the tournament would be permanently based in Japan, or would alternate between the three competing countries.
''Japan may want to host it every year, and clearly given the broadcast interest in Japan and Korea I personally believe would be stronger there at this preliminary stage,'' Reid said.
''That's exciting for us for a couple of reasons - it gives our sponsors more exposure and makes our club more attractive when it comes to recruiting.''
Meanwhile, Reid said United would undertake a worldwide search for a quality goalkeeper to replace injured Matildas star Lydia Williams.
Canberra's reigning player of the year suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury last week, just two games into her first season with Swedish top flight club Pitea IF.
''It's highly likely that one of our three international places will be taken by a goalkeeper,'' Reid said.
''Jitka [coach Jitka Klimkova] is in the US and has been in touch with their technical people, and looking at possibilities that suit our budget and timeframe.
''It might be time for [last year's back-up keeper] Aroon Clansey to step up and be our No.1 keeper, and she'd be in the mix for Jitka to consider as well.''
Williams confirmed yesterday she has opted to undergo a traditional operation, which carries a nine-month rehabilitation period, in Adelaide next week.
''There's no rush getting back for any international competition, and playing for Australia is my main priority so I'll do the hamstring graft,'' Williams said. ''Sweden has expressed interest for me to go back and do rehab there, and that's been cleared by the Matildas.''
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