Newcastle Stadium to host 2015 AFC Asian Cup

Newcastle Stadium has been named as one of the five venues for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Newcastle Stadium will play host to four games of international football after today being named as one of the five venues for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

The announcement was made this afternoon by the Chief Executive Officer of AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee (LOC) Michael Brown, NSW Minister for Sport Graham Annesley and Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Brad Luke.

Mr Brown said the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the LOC had been impressed by the facilities at the stadium and the enthusiastic support from both the NSW Government and The City of Newcastle in securing games for the city.

“The Asian Cup in Australia will be a three week, 32 match festival of football and we are delighted to announce that Newcastle will be a huge part of the event,” Mr Brown said.

“Not only will two qualifying games be played in Newcastle, but the Stadium will also play host to a Semi Final and the 3rd v 4th playoff.

“These are some of the biggest games of the tournament, and are recognition that the Hunter region is a strong heartlands for grassroots football.

“I want to thank the NSW Government and The City of Newcastle for their support in making it possible for us to bring the jewel in the crown of Asian football to Newcastle.”

NSW Minister for Sport Graham Annesley welcomed the announcement that Newcastle would host four matches in the tournament.

“The staging of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia is just reward for the growth of football in this country,” Mr Annesley said.

“Successive World Cup campaigns have positioned Australia on the world football stage, and I-m confident both Stadium Australia and Newcastle Stadium will ensure fans experience and enjoy these world class facilities during the Asian Cup.”

Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Cr Brad Luke said Council was excited that Newcastle would be showcased to a huge international audience and Council was proud to be supporting the event.

”It-s no secret that Newcastle-s reputation as one of Australia-s most amazing destinations is well deserved and just last year was named the best Festival and Event City by the International Festival and Events Association,” Cr Luke said.

“Council will do all that it can to make sure that Asian Cup organisers, players and fans feel welcomed by the people of Newcastle and go home feeling like they-ve had a great time at the Cup and accessed some of the great experiences our cosmopolitan coastal city has to offer.”

Minister for the Hunter, Michael Gallacher said this would further enhance the region-s profile as a ‘must see- destination in Australia.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of the Hunter and in particular the city of Newcastle and its excellent sporting venues,” Minister Gallacher said.

“It will also drive tourism across the Hunter and regional NSW and prove it is a world class destination to visit.

The Asian Cup is the pinnacle for the 47 nations of the AFC who represent half the world-s population and some of the most passionate football fans anywhere.

The Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football championships behind Copa America and is Asia-s equivalent of the Euro Championships.

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 will be the biggest sporting event in Australia for more than 10 years and the biggest football event ever in Australia.

Games will be broadcast to 80 countries across the world with a potential television reach of 2.5 billion. About 3,500 international media are expected to come to Australia for the event.

The other competition venues are Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Brisbane Stadium at Milton and Canberra Stadium in the ACT.

Matches in the 16-nation tournament will be played from 9-31 January, 2015. Australia, Japan, Korea Republic and DPR Korea have already qualified.

LOC Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said today-s announcements marked a significant milestone in the planning of AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

“We are pleased to have now locked in five top class venues for the competition and finalised the match schedule.

“This will allow the detailed planning for the event to progress on schedule to ensure Asian Cup Australia 2015 is a world-class event and maintains Australia-s international reputation as a great host for the world-s best sporting contests.”

The AFC Asian Cup 2015 is being jointly-funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian governments.