The Socceroos have settled on Fulham’s Craven Cottage as their home away from home in England.
Australia has tried West Ham’s Upton Park, Reading’s Madejski Stadium and QPR’s Loftus Road since deciding to base European home games in London.
But Football Australia’s John Boultbee declared yesterday Craven Cottage was the preferred choice after the recent success of hosting the Socceroos versus Norway match.
“We’ve got a good understanding with Fulham, they’ve been very co-operative,” Boultbee said. “They’ve got excellent training facilities, they’re ideally placed for the large Australian expat community in London, and the ground is the right size for the type of matches we’re likely to play.”
Football Australia has already relocated two of its support staff — physio Les Gelis and conditioning trainer Anthony Crea — to London to be accessible to the Socceroos.
“They’re using consulting rooms in fitness centres and travelling to see players who need them, but we’re looking at tying down one place from which they can operate,” Boultbee said.
Setting up the London base became paramount with a big portion of games likely to be in Europe to lessen the travel for the players, with most based in England or central Europe.
But the next international will be an exception with the Socceroos due to travel to Durban to play South Africa on Wednesday, February 9.
Socceroos coach Frank Farina, in Europe to check on players, will today announce an enlarged 24-man squad for the South African trip, to cope with injuries.