The Olyroos quartet involved in an incident at their team hotel while on international duty in Cambodia back in March face being banned for January’s final phase of qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Skipper Riley McGree and green and gold teammates Lachlan Wales, Nathaniel Atkinson (both of Melbourne City) and Perth Glory’s Brandon Wilson are facing suspension from international competition for in excess of three months, with a final decision from FFA set to be handed down after Thursday’s AGM in Sydney.
The foursome were issued “show cause” notices by the ruling body in October after allegations leveled over their conduct on the final night of their stay in Phnom Penh.
Their responses are expected to be delivered to FFA this week.
Whilst the specifics of the incident cannot be revealed at this point because of the legal ramifications, it is thought to highlight several cultural issues and the penalties set to be handed down reflect how seriously FFA are taking the matter.
All four players were omitted from the Olyroos squad currently in China on a three-game tour, and it’s understood coach Gary van Egmond has been told to prepare for January’s AFC U-23 Championship without them in mind.
It’s unclear whether any bans would encompass the A-League also, though one high-ranking club official was adamant that would not be the case.
The incident took place under the watch of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who will resume the Olyroos reins for the tournament in Thailand which runs from January 8-26.
Arnold has been hoping that a measure of leniency might be afforded to the players, whose cases are in the hands of the PFA.
Australia are up against Iraq, Thailand and Bahrain at the group stage.
“I was made aware of a complaint against some of our players after an incident on the final night of our stay," Arnold said in a statement last month.
"The alleged misbehaviour has been the subject of a thorough investigation. I have always and always will make it very clear to my staff and my players of my expectations of them in camp.
“They are the public face of football in this country and abroad and with that comes added responsibility.
“We now need to ensure the individuals concerned are given the opportunity to participate in a fair process as required under the FFA's disciplinary regulations."
It’s believed among the four players, who were given added time to respond, mental health concerns have also been raised as they struggle to deal with the fallout from the incident.
The PFA were approached but declined to comment.