MCG to host farewell before next years World Cup

Australia will play its farewell match prior to departing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa at the MCG in Melbourne.

Australia will play its farewell match prior to departing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa at the MCG in Melbourne.

Although the opposition is not yet confirmed, the Qantas Socceroos 2010 ‘farewell match- was announced in Melbourne today by the Victorian Premier, John Brumby and Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO, Ben Buckley.

The farewell match is one of three games announced by Premier Brumby and Buckley in a new arrangement between the Victorian Government and FFA.

"Like the Australia v Greece game at the MCG in 2006, where a crowd of over 95,000 farewelled the Qantas Socceroos before the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Melbournians and visitors will be keen to get behind the Australian team in 2010 and show our support for the Qantas Socceroos FIFA World Cup campaign in South Africa.

"Melbourne not only holds the title of ‘World-s Ultimate Sports City-, we-re the unofficial home of football in Australia," said Brumby.

The agreement between the Victorian Government and FFA secures a Qantas Socceroos match for Melbourne in each of 2010, 2012 and 2013, and follows last night-s 2010 FIFA World Cup Asian Group qualifier in which Australia defeated Japan, 2-1, to finish top of their group.

Buckley said that Melbourne will continue to witness some of the most significant and compelling football matches under this new partnership with the Victorian Government.

"Australia-s success in the 2006 FIFA World Cup showed that we are a credible and competitive football nation

"We thank the Victorian Government for their support, and we look forward to playing more exciting international encounters in Melbourne over the next four years," Buckley said.

In addition to the farewell match in May 2010, the agreement includes a match in each of the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary round and final round.

The agreement also includes a Victorian Government commitment to the growth of grassroots football through support for a Community Football Development program.

"Playing in the FIFA World Cup is an ambition shared by the entire nation and we-re looking forward to a full house and vocal support from people all over Victoria to help the players on the journey to South Africa."

Australia-s schedule for the 12 months to the FIFA World Cup involves international friendly matches, as well as Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup qualifiers.

In addition to the farewell match, FFA anticipates the 2010 Australian Football Awards will be held in Melbourne also.