Jordan manager Adnan Hamad was detained and held for about four hours by immigration officials at Melbourne Airport when his team arrived ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Australia on Tuesday. Both Jordan and Australia are on seven points in Group B of the AFC's fourth round of qualifying. Australia are ahead of Jordan on goal difference and currently sit third behind Japan and Oman, respectively, who have both played one more game than the rest of the five-team group.
According to Reuters, Australia's Foreign Minister called Jordan's ambassador to express regret over the incident, but not apologize. There was apparently a breakdown in communication between the Jordanian Football Association (JFA) and Football Federation Australia (FFA) at the airport in the lead up to Hamad, a former player and manager for Iraq's national team, being held to "confirm his immigration status."
The JFA complained that no-one had been made available to help them with their entry into Australia, as agreed with Football Federation Australia (FFA).
The FFA said they had sent two personnel to meet the Jordan delegation, but had no control over customs.
Australia central defender Sasa Ognenovski gave a wry smile when asked on Friday about the incident.
"Maybe customs were trying to hold them back or something," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"Maybe (Australia coach) Holger (Osieck) had something to do with it."
If Holger Osieck did have a hand in this, he should be thankful Australia already visited Jordan (where Jordan won 2-1) because there would probably be many, many cavity searches in his future if they hadn't.
Japan have already qualified, leaving just one more automatic bid left in the group, while the third-place finisher will have to play a two-legged playoff against the third-place finisher in Group A. The winner of that will then play the fifth-place finisher in CONCACAF for a hard earned place in the World Cup.
Immigration officials in all participating countries are likely at the ready.
- Sports & Recreation
- Football Federation Australia