Yesterday it was announced that Australia are to host the 2015 Asia Cup. This has been reported in some quarters as easing the pain of missing out on hosting the 2022 World Cup, but nothing could be further from the truth for a large part of Australia.
First of all there was not a great deal to be excited about in relation to this announcement as Australia was the only nation bidding.
Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy on accepting the hosting rights said “The Australian nation will be on show not just on the field but also off the field.”
“The people of Australia, the government of Australia are ready and able to host the Cup and ensure that football advances throughout Asia through the efforts of Australia.”
But as with the World Cup bid the FFA have once again failed to engage the whole of Australia.
Of the 32 matches to be played the FFA have failed to schedule any games in Adelaide, Perth, Hobart or Newcastle.
This is a backward step for the games development. These cities never see the Socceroos and here was an opportunity for them to experience international football and once again it has been missed.
Questions have to be asked of the games governing bodies in these states, as to how they could allow this to happen. The stakeholders should demand answers as development will now be held back once again.
When the AFC came to Australia to view the proposed stadia “Not The Footy Show” asked the FFA if the fact that there was no visit to Perth this meant that this city would not be hosting any games. The then head of Corporate and Public Affairs Bonita Mersiades advised us “Perth is not included in the inspection tour for the Asian Cup Bid. This does not mean that it would not be a host city if the bid was successful.”
Well it appears that Perth and other key football cities have been ignored; Perth despite the promise of $83million to upgrade NIB Stadium by the Government in May 2010. This would mean that the area that was a concern for the AFC, the changing rooms at NIB being brought up to scratch by 2015.
The tournament will be played in January 2015 and will feature the 16 top teams in Asia with games to be played at four or five selected venues.
These stadia will be picked from eight put forward by Australia’s bid team. These included: Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, Gold Coast’s Skilled Park, Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, Sydney Football Stadium and Parramatta Stadium, Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium and AAMI Park, and Canberra Stadium.
It really is quite scary the lack of vision shown with this decision, and as stated the state bodies need to explain what they did to try and be a part of the tournament, and what went wrong, the stakeholders deserve this, and if it is not forthcoming, then they need to press for answers.