Football Federation Australia has warned Australia's place in Asian football is not guaranteed – and there are powerful forces lined up against it.
Australia left Oceania to join the Asian Football Confederation in 2006 in what was seen as one of the key moves to revitalise the sport.
The move to AFC opened up a direct route to the World Cup and the Socceroos have qualified for every tournament since.
It also allowed A-League sides to compete against the continent's best in the Asian Champions League, while also providing stiffer competition for youth sides at all levels too.
But Australia has struggled to feel a part of Asia and the 2010 bid to host the men's World Cup in 2018/2022 saw Australia go head to head against eventual winners Qatar as well as fellow AFC rivals Japan and Korea.
There is also an underlying bitterness in some areas against Australia for repeatedly taking one of the four automatic qualification spots for World Cups at the expense of other Asian nations.
Now FFA chairman Chris Nikou has admitted Australia's place is precarious.
"Our position in Asia in my view is more fragile that it should be," he said. "But I think it's a relationship most football people would say we want to preserve.
"We have good friends and support to the East [of Asia]. We're not that well-liked to the West."
Nikou's predecessor Sir Frank Lowy managed to ingratiate himself into Asia by charming the Gulf states into accepting Australia's bid to join the Asian Football Confederation.
But there has been growing discontent against Australia since Lowy retired as chairman four years ago.
"Maybe a 48-team World Cup starts to change that dialogue," said Nikou. "Because then there are more spots for AFC countries and Australia is not seen as taking a spot that would otherwise go to a Gulf state."
Diplomatic skills will need to be at their peak in the FFA's bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup, with rival bids expected from Colombia and South Africa, as well as potentially two more from AFC's Japan and a possible joint Korea bid.
For the Australian bid to stand a good chance of success, it will need to be the AFC's preferred bid over the two local rivals.
But that leaves the FFA facing a tricky choice in the upcoming AFC elections which sees a three-way ballot for the presidency between candidates from Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.
The current President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, came under fire for not helping Australian footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi when he was imprisoned in Thailand while Bahrain demanded his deportation.
The FFA will need to decide whether to back the incumbent president, or the candidate from Qatar, which is currently isolated by all the other Gulf states, or risk backing the UAE rival to Bahrain and facing a backlash if he loses.
So far the board has yet to make up its mind on how it will vote.
"I haven't spoken to the board about this," admitted Nikou. "But I understand the concern.
"History tells us that this is very fluid. This thing is going to move is my guess. We'll make a call closer to the day."
He warned the future of Australia's 2023 World Cup bid will depend on the AFC's backing.
"My reaction is always one of practicality," he admitted.
"If I get the feeling the reality is, pardon the expression, that we are pushing shit uphill then I'll say, 'Sorry guys, let's position ourselves for subsequent bids.'
"I'm not going to waste time and money and burn capital we don't have. Everyone tells me it would great to have the World Cup in Australia but we have got to be realistic."