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Roar earn Champions League shot

Wellington Phoenix’s ineligibility to play in Asian competition has led to Brisbane Roar earning a 2021 AFC Champions League qualifying berth.The A-League has been granted one full spot and two half spots in next year’s Champions League.Sydney FC, who completed the A-League premiership-championship double, have the full spot that gains them automatic entry into the…

Wellington Phoenix’s ineligibility to play in Asian competition has led to Brisbane Roar earning a 2021 AFC Champions League qualifying berth.

The A-League has been granted one full spot and two half spots in next year’s Champions League.

Sydney FC, who completed the A-League premiership-championship double, have the full spot that gains them automatic entry into the Champions League group stage.

Beaten grand finalists Melbourne City, who also finished second to Sydney on the ladder, have one of the half spots, which will result in them playing off for a place in the group stage.

The other half spot would normally have gone to team that finished third on the ladder, which was the Phoenix.

But Wellington cannot take part in an Asian club competition because the club hails from New Zealand, a member of the Oceania Football Confederation.

As a result, the fourth-placed Roar have received the half spot and a shot at qualifying for the Champions League group stage via the playoff system.

“It’s a nice reward for the hard work the team put in this season,” Roar coach Warren Moon said.

The Roar squad remains in hotel quarantine in a Brisbane CBD hotel after returning to Queensland last week from the A-League’s NSW hub.

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Next year’s Champions League playoff matches are scheduled for January, while the group stage is set to kick off in February.

This year’s Champions League – which involves Sydney FC, Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory – is set to resume for the three Australian clubs by November at the latest.

Meanwhile, Macarthur FC has confirmed the signing of former Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic.

The three-time A-League champions winner joins the competition newcomers from Perth Glory.

“It is an honour for me to be part of the inaugural squad,” Franjic said.

“To be able to create something special for the region and for Bulls fans will require a lot of hard work however I believe it will be all worthwhile.”

Macarthur coach and former Socceroos assistant mentor Ante Milicic said Franjic, who turns 33 next month, would bring further experience to a squad that already included former national team skipper Mark Milligan and well-travelled winger Tommy Oar.

“Working with Ivan during my time with the Socceroos I know he is they type of player we want at our club,” Milicic said.

“He brings a lot of experience to our roster, someone the younger players in our squad can look up to for guidance.”

“Seeing him link back up with ‘Millsy’ and Tommy gives me great delight.”

The Glory have confirmed that Socceroos attacker Andrew Nabbout and Australian under-23 representative defender Nathaniel Atkinson have joined the club on two-year deals from Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City respectively.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have secured the services of two of the A-League’s very best players in their respective positions,” Glory football director Jacob Burns said.

“A host of clubs both in Australia in overseas were vying to sign them and it is a testament to what we have built here at Glory in recent times that they have opted to come to us and be a part of our future.”

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