Australia dismiss Asian Cup security concerns

December 13, 2006

SYDNEY, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Australia have dismissed reports they were concerned about security at next year's Asian Cup and said they were happy to be based in any of the four hosting countries.

Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia are staging the tournament in July, leading to suggestions that the Socceroos could use north Australia as their base and fly in for each match the day before.

'At this point in time, we're very confident about the arrangements we have put in place, irrespective of which country we're drawn in,' FFA commercial operations manager John O'Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday.

The Socceroos are planning to play two friendlies in Australia in early June before a 10-day training camp to prepare for their first Asian Cup.

'We need that before we travel across,' coach Graham Arnold said. 'It's going to be hot conditions wherever we do go, so we'll have a camp somewhere it's quite warm.'

Arnold also shrugged off criticism from Kuwait last week about Australia's admission into the Asian Football Confederation.

'We're new into Asia and they are scared of us,' Arnold said. 'Once the World Cup qualifiers kick off and we take an Asian team's position, they'll probably be even more upset.'