Celebrate one year to go until AFC Asian Cup!

Newcastle will mark one year to go with a range of fun and free community events at Wheeler Place this Sunday.

Newcastle is gearing up to celebrate the one year countdown until AFC Asian Cup Australia kicks off in January 2015 - including four high profile matches being staged in Newcastle.

On Sunday, 12 January 2014, Newcastle will mark one year to go with a range of fun and free community events expected to draw big crowds to Newcastle-s central square, Wheeler Place.

Kicking off at 10.30am, planned activities include: • Launch of the official countdown clock which will take pride of place in Wheeler Place right up until the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 • A football shoot out between Federal, State and local politicians • A 365 football scramble! Tickets to Newcastle-s games will be highly coveted - especially those to the Semi-Final and 3rd v 4th play-off. As part of an exclusive ticket give-away, 365 pre-registered fans will be given the chance to grab one of 365 balls released into Wheeler Place. Five of the 365 balls will be ‘winning balls- - with the lucky recipients receiving either one family pass (2 adults 2 children) to the AFC Asian Cup semi-final, one family pass (2 adults 2 children) to the AFC Asian Cup 3rd v 4th playoff, or one of three family Newcastle Jets passes • Autograph signing with the athletes.

The AFC Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football championship in the world, with the winning team crowned champions of Asia. The AFC Asian Cup in 2015 will see teams from 16 countries competing in 32 matches - including two group matches, a Semi Final and 3rd v 4th playoff at Newcastle Stadium.

“Newcastle has long been a football heartland and being one of just five host cities to stage AFC Asian Cup matches in 2015 is both a great honour and incredibly exciting for the whole city,” said Ms Jan Ross, Manager of Tourism and Economic Services for the City of Newcastle.

“All matches will be played at Newcastle Stadium - home ground for the Newcastle Jets A-League football team.

“Following completion of the stadium-s recent state of the art $81 million Western Grandstand, increasing its seating capacity to 33,000, Newcastle is well prepared to welcome the thousands of fans who will be travelling to region to see some of the world-s best teams vie for the AFC Asian Cup championship.

“Newcastle is fast establishing itself as a vibrant and successful sports hub having recently staged major events including the spectacular opening ceremony of the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games, the third match in the British and Irish Lion-s 2013 Tour, an exhibition match between the Newcastle Jets and the LA Galaxy featuring David Beckham, an Australian Rugby League test match against New Zealand and a Rugby International between Australia and Scotland.

“Given the number of teams involved in the championship from all around Asia, we expect interest in AFC Asian Cup to surpass all other events - and we can-t wait to show off our wonderful city to visitors travelling from far and wide.”