Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup organisers have stated their goal of using the country’s staging of the tournament to improve its position within the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The AFC cut Australia’s automatic qualifying spots for its Champions League competition from two to just one in November and Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop admitted a lot of work is needed to “ensure our position in the AFC is recognised.” Australia joined the AFC in 2007 and organising committee chief executive Michael Brown said he was confident the Asian Cup would bring it closer to other countries in the region.
“Our vision is to deliver a world-class event that celebrates Asia’s rich football culture and leaves an enduring legacy for the game in Australia,” said Brown, according to AAP. “This presents an outstanding opportunity for Australia to strengthen our cultural, social and economic ties with Asia, including some of our most important trading partners. The Federal Government’s Asian Century White Paper acknowledged the power of sport to bridge language and cultural barriers and serve as a platform to build relationships. It confirms that events like the Asian Cup offer opportunities for Australia to build on our international reputation for delivering major sporting events, and to promote Australian tourism, trade and other interests in Asia.”
The 2015 Asian Cup faces a significant challenge in being staged in the midst of a packed Australian sporting schedule. It will be held one month before the country’s hosts the Cricket World Cup and runs alongside the Australian Open tennis grand slam. However, Brown suggested that rather than going head-to-head with other events, they should work together to develop a summer tourism extravaganza. “We want to connect with the Sydney Festival, we’ll connect with the Cricket World Cup and the tennis in Melbourne,” he added, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “We want to add to what is a great time, in January, to be here. We want to showcase Australia to people who might not see it again.”