Football Australia considering last minute 2023 AFC Asian Cup bid

Football Australia have confirmed they are considering a late bid to host the AFC Asian Cup from June to July next year, which would provide an extraordinary opening act to a packed winter of football that already features the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The Asian Cup is scheduled to start on June 16, 2023, with the final to be played a month later. Just four days beyond that, New Zealand’s Football Ferns and the Matildas will kick off their group stage matches at Eden Park and the Sydney Football Stadium respectively.

Football Australia has until June 30 to submit a bid to the AFC for the continental tournament, which requires relocation after China’s withdrawal last month citing their zero-covid policy and ongoing issues relating to the pandemic.

South Korea appears the most likely candidate to host what would be their first Asian Cup since 1960, after their FA formally announced last week that they would meet the AFC’s submission deadline. Last month, South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol mandated his sports minister to bid for the event after dining with the playing squad.

But they may now meet competition from Australia, who famously lifted the title as hosts in 2015 before a crowd of over 76,000 at Sydney’s Olympic Park. Coincidentally it was South Korea they defeated in the final, having reversed the result from their group stage meeting.

“We are making enquiries and having parallel discussions with the Asian Football Confederation and Governments to determine the possibilities for Australia to host this tournament,” an FA Spokesperson said.

The 32-match tournament hosted by Australia drew an average of over 20,000 fans, boosted by the Socceroos drawing an average of 44,500 across their six games. Matches were hosted in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

That edition of the tournament featured sixteen teams; the 2023 edition will be the second under the AFC’s expanded format, meaning any successful Australian bid would need to house 24 nations across 51 games.

Qualification for the tournament was completed last month, with Tajikistan to feature for the first time. Hong Kong have qualified for the first time since 1968, and 2007 hosts Malaysia have qualified on merit for the first time since 1980.

$500,000 dedicated to the improvement of safety across NSW

A list of successful applicants across Football New South Wales are now entitled to a grant courtesy of $500,000 to Local Sport Defibrillator Grant (LSDG).

The sole purpose of LSDG is to provide Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to sports clubs across the state in order to combat the growing correlation between sport participation and cardiac arrests incurred by participants.

These devices have the potential to save participants lives within these crucial emergency situations.

Situations in where time is of the essence, the use of a defibrillator can be the difference in saving someone’s life.

Although the situation of a cardiac arrest occurring to be highly unlikely, due to the increased frequency of the medical episode taking place primarily within sport.

The safety of a broader community requires an approach in which it can allow for an equalizer within these tremulous situations.

Impact on Football Across NSW

14 clubs across the state of NSW where listed upon the successful applications, entitling those clubs to receive 3 defibrillators each.

Southern District Soccer Football Association have had quite the substantial contribution targeted towards their region.

4 out of the possible 14 AEDs were provided to a region where football has experienced expansion in growth and participation.

Heartbeat of Football

Heartbeat of Football (HOF) have worked in conjunction with Football NSW, acting as their primary community heart partner since 2022.

Boasting the motto “No one should die playing the sport they love,” HOF are dedicated within the company’s objective of having zero related hearth deaths on a sporting ground.

The efforts of HOF are in unison with the LSDG.

Football NSW Manager Government Relations, Funding, and Infrastructure, Daniel Ristic, said via press release.

“The Local Sport Defibrillator Grant has been a fantastic grant initiate allowing football clubs across NSW to equip themselves with life saving devices that are making a difference at the community level.”

The LSDG grant will continue to provide the required needs necessary in which can ultimately be lifesaving to a new branch of football entities across NSW.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

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