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Leeds are seeking legal advice after the Australian Soccer Association invoked a FIFA rule to ban Mark Viduka from playing in this weekend’s game against Manchester United.

The ASA was unhappy witht Viduka’s withdrawal from the squad to play Venezuela, but their decision to prevent Viduka turning out for Leeds at the weekend, has infuriated the club.

“We will explore every available avenue to redress this potential injustice,” the club told BBC Radio Leeds.

The Leeds statement continued: “This decision has shown a complete lack of understanding and compassion towards Mark whose father Joe is still critically ill over in Australia.

“And to Leeds United Football Club who, given Mark’s personal circumstances, had no hesitation in granting him unlimited compassionate leave so that he could be at his father’s bedside.”

In a statement in the wake of the ASA’s decision, Viduka said: “I’m extremely disappointed at the stance taken by Soccer Australia.

“Leeds United officially requested that I be withdrawn over an injury that I picked up in the game against Wolves.

“The considered and submitted medical opinion was that as the injury had been sustained due to lack of match fitness, treatment and rehabilitation was the best action rather than the amount of travel required for this fixture.

“I also had an open and honest dialogue with the ASA expressing my thoughts that this game had come at the wrong time for me due to my recent personal circumstances, a time when I still feel I need to be with and available to my family.

“Sadly this was not deemed acceptable. Therefore, because of my strength of feeling I took the decision to withdraw from the squad.”

“I want everyone connected with or following the Socceroos to know that I care passionately about playing for my country.

“The thought of retiring from the national team was never an option.”

The ASA statement said: “We would like to emphasise that it has been a difficult process in reaching these decisions.

“We are committed to the principle that Australia should field its best possible team at all times.

“We take a sympathetic view of the circumstances of all players but ultimately decided there were grounds for invoking article 40 of FIFA’s regulations in the case of Scott Chipperfield and Mark Viduka.”

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