KUALA LUMPUR: Asian football leaders have asked Australian to step up its security for the Asian Cup in January after the Sydney cafe terrorist incident writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Three people, including ‘lone wolf’ attacker Man Haron Monis died in the resolution of the 16-hour siege in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The Asian Football Confederation, while expressing condolences, has also registered “serious concerns over the safety and security of teams, media and fans” and has asked the Australian Local Organising Committee (ALOC) to increase the safety measures around the competition.

Asia’s flagship competition will be held in Australia across five venues of Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne from January 9 to 31.

General secretary Alex Soosay said: “Thousands of media and fans will be travelling to Australia for the competition apart from 16 teams and their security is our utmost priority.

“We have asked ALOC to provide extra security in team and AFC hotels as well as police escorts for all official activities including training and matches in addition to increase in security across all venues. AFC has no doubt that ALOC together with its government will fulfil AFC’s request.”

Soosay said ALOC has been working hard to prepare for the competition, but the well-being of all the stakeholders could not be compromised.

He added: “Australia has successfully hosted many prestigious events in the past but the recent developments cannot be taken lightly.

“I would like to assure the teams, fans and the media that ALOC will do whatever necessary to provide the best security cover around the competition and everyone will enjoy the best-ever AFC Asian Cup.”