Black Cats dash Arca's hopes
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Argentine federation have been impressed by Arca's efforts for The Black Cats this term and were keen to involve him in their plans at next month's South American qualifying tournament.
Arca was keen to link up with his fellow countrymen and help them secure their passage to Athens 2004, but Sunderland have told the full back he cannot go as it is not an official Fifa competition.
"The Argentinian FA have been in touch but Julio won't be going," said Black Cats boss Mick McCarthy. "He's an important player to us and we don't have to let him go because this is not a Fifa competition.
"I have spoken to Julio about it and, while of course he would have wanted to play for his country, he understands the position.
"Other players who are eligible, such as Javier Saviola at Barcelona, won't be going because they are playing in the first team at their club and Julio is in the same situation."
Arca recently revealed he was eager to play in the competition as he saw it as a stepping-stone to Marcelo Bielsa's full squad, so he is sure to be disappointed with the decision.