Arnold seeks route through fixture jam
SOCCEROOS boss Graham Arnold will meet with his new boss next week to plot a route through a gridlocked year ahead, as Football Federation Australia navigates the ramifications of the Olyroos qualifying for the Olympics.
Arnold's success in steering the U23 side to their first Games in 12 years has created a logjam that will involve him overseeing nearly 25 games in 2020, some in different parts of the world at different times.
Though there has been speculation linking Arnold with the vacant role at Western Sydney Wanderers, the former Sydney FC boss seems certain to continue his dual role at the helm of two national teams.
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New FFA CEO James Johnson will hold talks with Arnold next week to address the international schedule, just weeks into taking the role.
The Socceroos alone will play 14 games at least this year, including two rounds of World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America in June.
But planning for the Olyroos to prepare for the Tokyo Games in August is now underway, with FFA officials seeking government support to put on friendly matches and training camps in coming months.
Some of those are likely to clash with Socceroos games in the international windows, particularly in March and June, and will require additions to Arnold's coaching staff to manage the dual commitments.
Arnold took over the Olympic program last year as an unpaid extra role, and Johnson said he wanted to plan a preparation schedule for the Olyroos to give them the greatest chance of success.
"Arnie and I had an opportunity to catch up in Bangkok recently (at the Olympic qualifying tournament last week) - he's only just got back and I think he needs a bit of a break," Johnson said.
"He's been in camp for a month, and when he's back in the office next week we'll sit down and talk about things in general, which we haven't really had a chance to do now.
"It's a great opportunity - we haven't been at the Olympics for 12 years, and we need to take input from the experts in our football department.
"We have to plan a strategy leading into the tournament and obviously we want to perform.
"That's a process we have to go through, and requires me sitting down with Arnie to understand what he needs to deliver the best performance possible.
"This year we have so much international football - hopefully two teams at the Olympics, the Copa America and the continuation of the Socceroos in their pursuit of a place at the 2022 World Cup."