Asian Cup 2015 venues and schedule announced

Melbourne will host the opening ceremony and Qantas Socceroos first game of the Asian Cup 2015, wiith Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle also holding fixtures.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee (LOC) today unveiled the match schedule and host venues for the 2015 competition.

The competition will kick off in Melbourne on January 9, 2015 with an opening ceremony and Socceroos match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium and will culminate in the Final at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.

Click here to download the Asian Cup 2015 match schedule.

The other three competition venues are Brisbane Stadium at Milton, Canberra Stadium in the ACT and Newcastle Stadium in NSW.

LOC Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said today-s announcements marked a significant milestone in the planning of AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

“The Asian Cup in Australia will be a three week, 32 match festival of football culminating in the Final at Stadium Australia on January 31,” Brown said.

“We are pleased to have now locked in five top class venues for the competition and finalised the match schedule.

“This will allow the detailed planning for the event to progress on schedule to ensure Asian Cup Australia 2015 is a world-class event and maintains Australia-s international reputation as a great host for the world-s best sporting contests.”

Brown said the Socceroos qualifying games would be played in Melbourne on January 9, 2015; Sydney on January 13, 2015; and Brisbane on January 17, 2015.

“The four Quarter Finals will be played on January 22 and 23, 2015 and we are very excited that on Australia Day 2015 the first Semi Final will be played at Stadium Australia.

“The second Semi Final will be played in Newcastle on January 27, 2015 and the city will also host the 3rd v 4th play-off on January 30, 2015.”

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 is being jointly-funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian Governments. Federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy said the Gillard Government was working in partnership with the Local Organising Committee as Australia prepares to host the Asian Cup - the region-s premier sporting event.

“The Asian Cup offers a unique opportunity to showcase Australia as a world-class host for major sporting events and as an attractive tourist destination,” Lundy said.

“The spin-off from the Cup will be enormous for Australia with a global TV audience of more than 2.5 billion people expected and an estimated 45,000 international visitors set to visit our shores.”

NSW Minister for Sport Graham Annesley welcomed the announcement that Sydney and Newcastle would host a key Semi Final and Final match.

“The staging of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia is just reward for the growth of football in this country,” Annesley said.

“Successive FIFA World Cup campaigns have positioned Australia on the world football stage, and I-m confident both Stadium Australia and Newcastle Stadium will ensure fans experience and enjoy these world class facilities during the Asian Cup.”

Victorian Minister for Sport Hugh Delahunty said: “I am delighted the event's Opening Ceremony and Opening Match featuring the Socceroos will be held at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Melbourne on 9 January 2015.

“Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is a world class, award winning, purpose-built stadium with fantastic turf that the players will love and where the fans can get up close to the action.

“'I look forward to welcoming visitors to Melbourne and Victoria for this highly anticipated event.”

Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Jann Stuckey, said Queenslanders were looking forward to the benefits and exposure the tournament would bring to the state.

“An event the size of the Asian Cup has a tremendous impact, and I know that Brisbane 2015 will be memorable for spectators and competitors alike,” Stuckey said.

“The number of Asian tourists visiting Queensland has increased markedly during recent years, and the event will provide an opportunity to build on that by showcasing what our wonderful state has to offer.”

ACT Minister for Sport Andrew Barr said the ACT Government was proud to be working with Victoria, Queensland, NSW, the Federal Government and the AFC Asian Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee to host this exciting event and showcase Australia to Asia and the world.

“I-m delighted that football fans in Canberra and the capital region will have the chance to see some of the world-s best players and international teams in action.

“Canberra Stadium has a proven track record of hosting high-quality fixtures, including Olympic football, Rugby World Cup and Rugby League World Cup matches. Likewise Canberra will be a great venue for travelling fans, who will have the chance to see the unique attractions of the nation-s capital.”