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Football: Australia’s “Asian” Claim

  • May 16th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

fifa-logo-design.jpgAustralia has pulled out an Asia card to boost its bid to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup, deposited on Friday (14.5.10) along with those of eight competitors.

“The weight of the world is with Asia …”, said Frank Lowy, Australian Football Federation President, launching the campaign last year, and  emphasising the claims of a fast-expanding region in terms of followers, television  markets, investment money and performances on the field.

The Australian proposal to host the World Cup is built on  government-supported funding of A$2.8-billion, taking in plans to build three new stadiums (in Canberra, Perth and Sydney), and refurbish nine more.

The city of Melbourne is to have a somewhat marginalised role as a location; the dominant football code there, Australian Rules, having continued to resist moving aside to let the round ball game take over its venues.

Experience with events is being put forward, Australian organisers listing high success over decades, with the 1956 and 2000 Olympic Games, FIFA World Youth Cup, Four Commonwealth Games, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Indy 500, Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Australian Open tennis, and World Youth Day.

socceroos-japan1.jpg(Soccer) Football is a lesser code in Australia though it has established a national league, has huge participation through schools and several professional players with clubs in Europe, and saw its national team (“Socceroos”, picture, 2009) get into the final sixteen at the last World Cup, in Germany.

Its bid organisation has commissioned an economic study projecting an extraordinary spin-off from a World Cup at the end of the Earth: multiple employment and cash impacts compared with all previous international events held there, and an estimated A$5.3-billion boost to Australia’s Gross National Product.

In Friday’s presentation of bids to the International Football Federation (FIFA) at Zurich; Australia, England, Japan, Russia, the United States, the Netherlands/Belgium (jointly) and Spain/Portugal (jointly) have nominated to host the World Cup in  2018 and 2022; in addition South Korea and Qatar have put in for 2022.

Sports observers expect a European location to be favourite for  2018, after the event going to South Africa this year , and Brazil in 2014.

American claims are strong also, with favourable time zones for media coverage — and the perennial dream, of a full-scale break-through into the USA, complete with huge potential television markets and investment funding.