Postecoglou to coach Australia, says club

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ange Postecoglou is leaving Melbourne Victory to take over as head coach of Australia’s national soccer team, the A-League club said on Wednesday.

Postecoglou had been in a three-horse race for the job with former Socceroos coach Graham Arnold and Western Sydney Wanderers manager Tony Popovic after Holger Osieck was sacked earlier this month.

He emerged as a clear favourite on Tuesday when Football Federation Australia (FFA) executives were locked in talks with Victory over the release of the 48-year-old former national youth coach.

“Ange’s appointment as Socceroos coach is a fantastic endorsement for our club, its culture and the standards we strive to set,” Melbourne Victory Chairman Anthony Di Pietro said in a statement.

“We thank Ange and he will certainly always be part of the Melbourne Victory family.”

Victory, who will lose the two-time A-League championship-winning coach midway through a three-year contract, said they were disappointed with the process undertaken by the FFA to secure Postecoglou.

“The circumstances that Ange and the club have been confronted with are complex and compelling no matter what perspective you take,” Di Pietro added.

“That said, we have made it clear to Ange that we will not stand in the way of him accepting the biggest coaching role in this country.

“However, we are disappointed with the process undertaken by the FFA, given the outcomes we tried to secure could never have been achieved within the timeframes offered, which ultimately forced us to accelerate our decision not to stand in Ange’s way.”

Postecoglou was expected to be unveiled as head coach by the FFA later on Wednesday.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)