Tim Cahill, who is still a New York Red Bull until or unless evidence emerges to the contrary, is on a safari holiday with his family.
6am Safari this morning. Buzzing that I seen 2 lionesses and 8 Cubs up close and Elephants. #Safariselfie pic.twitter.com/fRRz29EO4L— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) December 7, 2014
His national team, however, is getting ready for Asian Cup 2015. Socceroos head coach, Ange Postecoglou, named a 46-man preliminary squad that will be cut down to 23 players by the end of December. The least surprising name on the list? Tim Cahill.
Cahill will play in Asian Cup 2015, and - since no one has suggested otherwise - he will do so as a New York Red Bull, and the only MLS player involved in Australia's effort to win the trophy on home soil.
In the meantime, Tim Cahill - RBNY's 2013 MVP and a player under contract with the Red Bulls for 2015 - is enjoying a vacation.
Fishing in the wild South Africa #SafariFishing pic.twitter.com/Zburj3lKGL— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) December 7, 2014
In other news out of Australia, Western Sydney Wanderers - the Asian club champions - are on their way to the Club World Cup with an unpleasant pay dispute hanging over the team. The players threatened to boycott the tournament when it was revealed the club would only be offering a 10% share of prize money from CWC, which is significantly less than the 50% share awarded to the players for their efforts in Asian Champions League (the tournament they won to reach CWC).
The club's side of the story is that CWC isn't covered by A-League's collective bargaining agreement, and therefore is not subject to the same pre-negotiated regulations regarding prize money distribution. The players' union advised that if CWC wasn't part of A-League's CBA, then the players were under no obligation to appear in it at all.
WSW's management has quickly moved to clarify its position, offering an increasing share of prize money if the team moves through the CWC. It isn't quite the same as a straight 50% split, especially since it requires the rather unlikely prospect of beating Real Madrid, but it may serve as a marginally better incentive for the players than previously offered.
With MLS about to embark on its own CBA negotiations, it is to be hoped the current agreement and the one to be hammered out in the coming weeks (please let it be weeks, MLS) already cover the question of CWC revenue sharing. If not, Western Sydney Wanderers' well-publicized problems leave no excuse for MLS not to get its house in order on this matter in the upcoming negotiations.
More pertinently for RBNY, there is the apparent fact of an entire squad of Asian Cup winners feeling a little aggrieved with their current circumstances. Exploiting the misfortunes of other clubs is not to be encouraged, but it is the MLS off-season and there are roster spots to be filled for 2015. In the Socceroos' behemoth preliminary squad, there are four players currently contracted to Western Sydney Wanderers.
Tomi Juric is a 23-year-old striker who spent several seasons in Croatia before moving to A-League in 2013. He scored the goal that won WSW the Asian Champions League.
Nikita Rukavytsya is a 27-year-old attacking player recently returned to Australia after a few years bouncing around clubs in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
Matthew Spiranovic is a 26-year-old defender with experience playing in Germany, Japan and Qatar. He was a substitute in the 2006-07 DFB Pokal final (analagous to US Open Cup), coming on in the 72nd minute to help 1.FC Nurnberg to a 3-2 victory (in extra time).
Nikolai Topor-Stanley is an A-League lifer, a 29-year-old defender and WSW's club captain.
Tim Cahill, who recently celebrated his 35th birthday in the company of a giraffe, is a RBNY player until whatever moment he decides that he is not. If any or all of the WSW contingent make it through to Australia's final Asian Cup squad, perhaps he might do a little scouting on behalf of the Red Bulls?
Massive Thankyou to everyone for the birthday wishes #SafariTime @TC4Academy pic.twitter.com/d4s8BYoR4W— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) December 6, 2014
Safe travels, Tim. Bring us back a Socceroo if you get a chance.