Socceroos great Robbie Slater has taken an angry swipe at officials over the "unprofessional conduct" bans handed to four young Australian players.
Lachlan Wales, Nathaniel Atkinson and Brandon Wilson will not feature in a potential Olympics campaign next year while rising star Riley McGree will play no further part in the Olyroos' qualifiers after they were suspended for "unprofessional conduct" involving a woman.
In April this year, a woman complained about the quartet - who were in Cambodia with the Olyroos for the AFC U-23 championship qualifying tournament.
The Daily Telegraph reported that one of the players connected with the woman in question on dating app Tinder, before inviting her back to the hotel where the team were staying.
It's alleged the woman had consensual sex with the players, before lodging a complaint with the Australian Embassy about the way she was treated afterwards.
The complaint was later dropped and there is no suggestion that she was sexually assaulted.
Nevertheless, the incident led to a lengthy FFA investigation, culminating in this week's bans.
McGree has been banned from international duty until April 1 next year while Wales, Atkinson and Wilson were hit with longer bans through to August 10, meaning that trio cannot be selected for the Tokyo Olympics.
All four players will also be suspended for January's AFC under-23 championships, the qualifying tournament for the Olympics.
The punishment's have left Slater fuming, with the Socceroos legend arguing that their Olympic dreams are essentially being ruined just because they broke curfew.
“I want to know, and the whole football fraternity should want to know, who has made this disgraceful decision to ban the players effectively for the Olympic Games if they qualify,” Slater said on Big Sports Breakfast radio program.
“I want to know who made this decision — apparently an independent committee. Why the hell you would need an independent committee?
‘I feel so sorry for those kids’
“Put this back in perspective — this happened back in Cambodia. The guys have broken curfew, they’re guilty of breaking curfew.
“Every Socceroo in the history of Socceroos would have been banned if that was the case.
“I feel so sorry for those kids, or young adults … that they’re going to miss an Olympic Games, if we qualify.”
The FFA said the four players would also participate in education courses and counselling as a result of the code of conduct breach.
"These sanctions are commensurate to the nature of the breaches of the National Code of Conduct which is in place to safeguard both the players and the reputation of Australian football," FFA chairman Chris Nikou said in a statement.
"Upholding our commitment to respect and responsibility cannot be compromised. Our game is built on equality, inclusivity and respect and these are values that we will continue to uphold.
"The players have understood the gravity of their actions and have positively commenced respectful relationship programs that will ensure they appreciate these values in the future."
The players can appeal FFA's ruling to the independent FFA disciplinary and ethics committee.
The players' union, Professional Footballers Australia, said it would provide support to all four players.
"The PFA has, and continues to, represent the players throughout this process and will work closely with each of them on their options, including appealing the sanctions imposed," the PFA said in a statement.
"From the outset the players have accepted responsibility, undertaken respectful relationships counselling and at all times acted cooperatively with the FFA during the investigation."