A rejig of China's draw for the upcoming Sydney Tokyo Olympic qualifiers puts the team at a heavy disadvantage.
There has been a re-jig of the draw with Australia now set to play on Thursday 6 February against Taiwan, Sunday 9 February against Thailand and Wednesday 12 February against China.
China were originally slated to play their first game on Monday 3 February against Thailand, but since they are in quarantine until 5 February this has proven impossible.
The Chinese will now play their first game on 6 February against Thailand in Western Sydney, barely 24 hours after being released from quarantine in Brisbane.
While FFA was placed in a very difficult situation in juggling the requirements of both teams, playing such an important game such as an Olympic qualifier straight after being in isolation for two weeks with limited access to training will be extremely difficult.
Former Matilda Joey Peters, who represented Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics, says Australia isn't up in arms because it suits us.
“We might be tempted to say ‘too bad’ because it suits us and an Olympic spot is on the line, but it’s more important to look at all options and make the best and fairest call, we owe it to the sport to do the right thing,” said Peters.
“It’s a difficult one, because they’ve obviously tried to make a quick decision on the initial situation and then realised the seriousness of needing quarantine.
“Because of the severity of the crisis, they should be able to keep making changes until they find the fairest possible option.”
Peters believes the fair thing to do would be to delay the qualifiers till March and merge the current and next phase together.
The way things stand, the top two in each group will meet in a two-legged home and away playoff on March 6 and 11 to determine which two teams join Japan as the Asian representatives at Tokyo 2020.
Alternatively, the March 6-11 calendar could be increased to accommodate a playoff scenario for the top two teams in each group.
Peters says the best option is to delay the current phase until March 6-11 with the top team in each group then progressing to Tokyo.
”The solution is to delay it again," she said. "Merging the two phases makes the most sense."