|By JOHN GRECO
Football Federation Australia chief executive officer David Gallop is confident the all-stars concept - to kick-off against a full-strength Manchester United side next year - will become an annual event on the Australian football calendar.
In a huge coup for the local game, it was confirmed on Monday the Red Devils will kick-start their 2013 pre-season tour with a game at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on July 20.
The 19-time English champions will play an A-League All-Stars side chosen by the fans.
Gallop, who oversaw the introduction of the National Rugby League all-stars match during his time in charge of rugby league, has no doubt this can be just as successful with the ability to attract some of the world's biggest club's in coming years.
"It's something the players really liked being part of and having the fans involved in the selection process will add an element as well," Gallop said on Monday.
"It's a good way to launch the all-stars, which should become part of the A-League every season.
"To play against Manchester United is a great way to launch it.
"It's (all-stars concept) become something really exciting across the world in sporting competitions and we want to be part of that."
The match will mark the first time in 13 years United will play in Australia, when they had two matches against the Socceroos.
On that occasion, just months after the club won the treble, superstars like David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and even manager Sir Alex Ferguson opted to stay at home.
But United officials have vowed the club will not short-change Australian fans, with their full squad to make the trip down under, to get valuable playing time together against strong opposition.
"It's one of the things the manager is always been very clear about," United spokesperson Phil Townsend said.
"The stronger the opposition, in terms of the physical challenge they present and the technical challenge too, is a very important part of the pre-season tour.
"This will help us to prepare and helps the players get up to the sharpness levels as quick as possibly.
"There's no friendlies between an English team and Australia."
Former United and Sydney FC star Dwight Yorke was in Sydney to promote the match and hasn't ruled out coaching the A-League all-stars side if he was asked.
Asked how competitive he believes the A-League side can be against United, Yorke, who won the championship with the Sky Blues in 2006, said: "I've got to be totally honest but the A-League guys are going to find it extremely difficult.
"But I'm sure it's a great experience for these guys who never would have had the opportunity to play against world class players.
"One thing that stands out when you see United is the aura of the team, how they present themselves and how they carry themselves.
"It's going to be a real eye-opener for these guys... hopefully they won't be too intimidated."
Gallop added: "The A-League team will be a high quality team.
"The opportunity to see not only the Australian heritage players but also the foreigners we've got in the competition at the moment... You'll see a pretty competitive team being put together."