November 17, 2012
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Beckham rejects potential move to Australia

David Beckham's representatives on Friday moved quickly to play down talk of a potential move to Australia, after claims by the country's football federation that he wanted to join an A-League club.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) claimed the 37-year-old former England captain had been in talks with Australian teams over a 10-game loan spell in the country's top flight.

Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero and Beckham's former England team-mate Emile Heskey have both joined A-League clubs this season, and reports indicated the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder was set to follow their lead.

However, a member of Beckham's management team insisted he had no plans to leave California, with the Major League Soccer (MLS) season due to end in two weeks' time.

"There is always enormous interest from clubs across the world in signing David as a player," the spokesman told Britain's Sky Sports News television channel

"There are absolutely no plans to play in Australia. David is completely focused on the MLS play-offs and winning another Championship with the Galaxy."

Despite the rebuttal, Beckham's one-time Manchester United team-mate Mark Bosnich, the former Australia goalkeeper, said that there had been "definite contact" about a possible move Down Under.

"David Beckham's representatives expressed an interest of sorts," said Bosnich, now a sports pundit, in an interview with Britain's Sky News television from Sydney.

"Obviously the idea was sold to Football Federation Australia in the last couple of days.

"I think what's happened is that somebody at Football Federation Australia has got very excited, which is understandable, because David Beckham would be absolutely fabulous for the game here."

Sky News also reported Aussie side Perth Glory as saying that they "would be mad not to consider" Beckham as a potential player and that they had put in a formal request to LA Galaxy.

Beckham remains one of the biggest names in football and his presence in the A-League alongside Del Piero and Heskey would help ratchet up the competition's global image.

Earlier on Friday, FFA said Beckham's management had offered his services for the current season, amid reports he wanted to set up a loan move to coincide with the close of the MLS season.

Beckham has previously had two loan spells with Italian giants AC Milan during the MLS off-season, in 2009 and 2010.

"The approach from David Beckham's people is another sign of how much the Hyundai A-League has grown in stature on a global basis," said an FFA spokesman.

"Beckham is a superstar on the world stage and he would be another massive signing for the A-League after the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono. But this approach remains at a very preliminary stage."

FFA said it was exploring all available options, with the Sydney Morning Herald speculating that the newly-formed Western Sydney Wanderers would be the most realistic option, as the Australian federation owns the team.

Del Piero is on a two-year contract reportedly worth Aus$2 million ($2 million, 1.6 million euro) a season at Sydney FC, while Heskey plays for the Newcastle Jets.

During his time with the Galaxy, Beckham has played against Sydney FC, Newcastle and Melbourne Victory in friendly matches.

AFP

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