Ange Postecoglou has slammed Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull for using Australian rules rather than football to engage with China.
The AFL confirmed on Wednesday that Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast will face off in Shanghai next May – the first time a game has been played for premiership points outside Australia and New Zealand.
In his new book, Changing the Game, the Socceroos coach was scathing of Turnbull for spruiking the match, then in its planning stages, while on a trade mission to China in April.
“When it was announced by the AFL that it intended to host a match in China between Port Adelaide and Gold Coast Suns, the prime minister couldn’t help but clamber all over the possibilities, exalting the greatness of Australia’s native game,” Postecoglou says in his book.
“If a prime minister, on behalf of a trade mission and business leaders, is going to impress the Chinese in the world of sport, surely he should use a sport common to both, like football, where Australia and China actually have relations and that the Chinese actually care about.”
Turnbull referred to Australian Rules Football as the “most exciting” football code while adressing the Chinese in April.
“AFL is the most exciting football code,” Turnbull said.
“An enormous field, extraordinary athleticism, it is the leaping, jumping, flying game, where the big men fly — as they say.
“Where possession is everything, possession is everything, it is a game that moves faster than any other. So exciting.”