Twenty-seven cities in every state and territory have been short-listed as potential pre-competition training camps for Australia’s biggest ever football tournament, AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
The enthusiasm generated around the nation means Asia’s top 16 teams will have a wealth of locations to choose from when they prepare for Asia’s biggest sporting event.
Venues putting their hands up to be part of Australia’s Asian Cup party include nine in NSW, eight in Victoria, three in both Queensland and South Australia and one each in WA, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory.
They now become candidates to host visiting national teams as they acclimatise and train in Australia before competing in the five tournament host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.
The pre-tournament host candidates, culled from an initial list of more than 50 nominations, include capital cities Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and Canberra, but most are regional centres. Sites selected include high quality football facilities close to international standard hotels.
They include Wollongong, Coffs Harbour, Albury and Cessnock in NSW, Ballarat, Shepparton, La Trobe and the Surf Coast in Victoria, Cairns, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and Launceston in Tasmania.
Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said the LOC would prepare an information brochure highlighting the venues that would be sent to all participating teams to consider as part of their preparations for the tournament.
“The response has been magnificent, and shows Australians are getting behind the Asian Cup in a big way,” Mr Brown said.
“We aim to put on a world class event and it’s clear Australians are ready to provide a world class welcome.
”I am sure if the visiting teams choose to base themselves at one of these great locations the whole region will adopt them as their second team.
“We can all still support our own Socceroos, as well as taking another nation under our wing.
“Australians are famous the world over for the warmth of our welcome, and hosting these teams will be an important part of our mission to celebrate Asia’s rich football culture.”
More than 2.5 million Australians have Asian heritage and the Asian Cup is a great chance for communities to celebrate their ancestry.
Twelve nations have already qualified for AFC Asian Cup 2015 – Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, South Korea and North Korea, along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Uzbekistan.
A further four spots are at stake, one in the AFC Challenge Cup and a further three in the final round of qualifying matches next March.
The final 16 teams will take part in a 23-day festival of football which the Socceroos will kick off on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.
The tournament is being jointly funded by the Australian Government and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and ACT Governments.
The final list of candidates for Asian Cup 2015 pre-competition training camps is:
Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Cessnock Sports Ground
Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Macquarie University, Sydney
Marconi Stadium, Sydney
Cromer Park, Sydney
NSW Home of Football (Valentine Sports Park), Sydney
Darwin Football Stadium
Stockland Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Barlow Park, Cairns
Bond University, Gold Coast
Adelaide Shores Football Precinct
Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Marden Sports Complex, Adelaide
Aurora Stadium, Launceston
Morshead Park, Ballarat
Surf Coast Pavillion
John McEwan Reserve, Shepparton
La Trobe City Stadium, La Trobe
Mazenod College, Mulgrave, Melbourne
Kingston Heath Soccer Club, Melbourne
George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong, Melbourne
Epping Stadium, Whittlesea, Melbourne
NIB Stadium, Perth