Albury's Asian Cup bid progresses
Albury has been short-listed as a potential training camp for Australia’s biggest ever football tournament, the 2015 Asian Cup.
AlburyCity’s Lavington Sports Ground is among 27 venues in every state and territory vying for hosting honours.
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 one of Asia’s top 16 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.”
AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack welcomed the news as a positive first step in the selection process.
“We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for hosting a Pre-Competition Camp. We’ve put together a very strong submission and look forward to working with any competing team interested in inspecting our facilities.
“Albury is a sports-mad city and this would be a great coup for the region. The Lavington Sports Ground would be the ideal venue for a competing team and our location to the tournament cities puts us in a strong position.
“We’re hopeful that we will be chosen as one of the host cities and I know our community would be very happy to see Albury make it through the next step in the selection process,” Cr Mack said.
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.