Asian Cup pitch upgrades worth $650k

The Hyundai A-League is set to benefit from up to $650,000 worth of upgrades to pitches at stadiums in all five cities that will host next year’s Asian Cup.

The Local Organising Committee announced the funding on Tuesday, as they aim to get the facilities up to world-class standard for January’s tournament.

The money will provide upgrades to the playing surfaces at the 11 training sites for the Asian Cup, as well as the Hunter Stadium surface in Newcastle, which was among the poorest in the Hyundai A-League last season.

Works will be undertaken at venues including Newcastle’s No.2 Sports Ground and Wanderers Oval, Brisbane’s Perry Park, S.S Anderson Oval in Port Melbourne, Deakin Stadium in Canberra and Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval.

“These developments are an important part of the legacy the Asian Cup will leave for Australian football and have focused on venues that will be used by football into the future,” CEO of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee, Michael Brown said.

“They demonstrate how committed we are to delivering pitches of the highest standard possible for Asia’s biggest football tournament, an event that will be televised to some 800 million people.

“We have set targets that the experts can measure – things like the firmness of the pitch, the height the ball bounces and the smoothness of the roll.

“The decision by the LOC and FFA to invest in Australia’s first pitch management conference is an indication of the importance football places on high quality pitches.

The Socceroos will be looking to win their first AFC Asian Cup when Asia’s biggest football tournament heads to Australia in January 2015.

32 matches over 23 days will be played in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle with the Socceroos kicking off the tournament against Kuwait in Melbourne on January 9.

Socceroos tickets start from $49 for adults and $24.50 for children.

All other group matches start from just $15 for adults and $5 for children.