Thursday 9 February 2006
The Premier, Steve Bracks and Football Federation Australia Chairman Mr Frank Lowy AC, today announced that Victoria, through the Victorian Major Events Company, had secured a package of world class football events over the next four years, including the eagerly awaited Powerade Cup match between Australia and Greece.
Mr Bracks said the full World Cup Qantas Socceroos squad would play Greece on Thursday 25 May at the MCG before they headed to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in June.
The agreement between FFA and VMEC sees an annual Qantas Socceroo match in Melbourne for the next four years plus investment in the community through the forming of a joint government and football working committee.
“This package further cements Melbourne’s reputation as the sporting capital of Australia and the World’s event city,” Mr Bracks said.
“Melbourne will see some of the most significant football matches in Australia every year for the next four years.
“Football is now a mainstream sport in Australia and the Socceroos World Cup send-off game against Greece, will attract huge interest and large numbers of interstate visitors.
“It will be the European Champion, Greece’s first appearance in Australia since 1978 and is sure to ignite the passion of the huge Greek community here in Victoria.
Chairman of Football Federation Australia, Mr Frank Lowy AC said Australia’s 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign will start in Melbourne.
“The full strength squad we are taking to Germany will play against Greece. We’re bringing the highest quality football to Victoria,” Mr Lowy said.
“As reigning European Champions Greece are a formidable opposition and will provide the ideal start for Australia’s World Cup assault.”
The four year package includes:
• 2006 - Powerade Cup match between Australia and Greece on Thursday 25 May at the MCG
• 2007 - Powerade Cup match between the Qantas Socceroos and one of the world’s best football nations
• 2008 - FIFA World Cup Qualifier - Australia’s first World Cup match since its membership of the Asian Football Confederation
• 2009 - FIFA World Cup Qualifier that could possibly decide if Australia qualifies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals in South Africa.
“The package provides a great opportunity to raise Victoria’s international profile and generate enormous economic activity,” Mr Bracks said.
Chairman of the Victorian Major Events Company, Sir Rod Eddington, said the MCG game would be the only match the Qantas Socceroos would play in Australia before the World Cup.
“VMEC won the package for Melbourne after tough negotiations,” he said.
“With the Volvo Ocean Race, World Surf Lifesaving Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Australian Grand Prix and now Australia versus Greece game – There is no better place to be right now than in Melbourne.”
He said the matches in 2008 and 2009 would generate significant tourism and broadcast opportunities into important tourist markets for Victoria such as Japan, China, India and Korea.
Coca-Cola Australia Managing Director Mr Gareth Edgecombe said they were proud to give Australians the chance to wish the team all the best in Germany through the Powerade Cup.
"Powerade and Coca-Cola are proud sponsors of both the FIFA World Cup and the FFA and Socceroos, so it’s only fitting then that this World Cup preparation match takes place as the Powerade Cup," he said.
The four year agreement also includes a significant component of development funding that will assist with the grass-roots development of football and increase the participation of the sport in Victoria.
Fantastic news for us Melburnians! A guaranteed Australia game every year for the next 4 years, against hopefully some big Footballing nations!
Would imagine with our Greek community that the May 25th game will be a sell out, just be interesting to see the ratio of Australian and Greek fans!
Well done to Bracksy and the VMEC for securing this deal.
Sporting capital of Australia!