Australia coach Graham Arnold has criticized the Asian Cup's January scheduling, saying it suits Middle East nations while causing problems for others that have a significant number of Europe-based players.

According to FIFA rules, clubs must release players for the Jan. 12 to Feb. 10 continental championship in Qatar but Arnold said some of his squad were under pressure from their European teams about playing in the tournament, which is run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

"If I was going to say anything about the AFC they should really seriously look at when they do play the Asian Cup in January because, yes, it suits the Middle East nations," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.