Sydney To Host Fifa World Cup Play-offs

The Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr today announced that Sydney will host the FIFA World Cup qualifier between Australia and the fifth placed South American nation – the winner of which will proceed to 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.*

FFA Release   The Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr today announced that Sydney will host the FIFA World Cup qualifier between Australia and the fifth placed South American nation - the winner of which will proceed to 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.*   The match which is part of the Powerade Series will be played at Telstra Stadium on either 12 or 16 November, 2005.   It is expected to attract more than 22,000 interstate and overseas fans to Sydney, injecting around $14 million into the NSW economy. (NSW Department of State and Regional Development)   Mr Carr said the decision confirmed Sydney-s place as a major event capital.   "Sydney is now recognised as a city that delivers the biggest and best events as good as anyone in the world," Mr Carr said.   "The Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup 2003 earned us a stamp of excellence.   "The World Cup play-offs are another opportunity to showcase Sydney and NSW to those visitors here for the game and the millions watching around the world.   "Given the near misses of the last two World Cup campaigns, I would imagine the atmosphere in the city on match day will be of Olympic proportions," Mr Carr said.   The play-off with the fifth placed South American nation will be broadcast in more than 100 countries around the world.   Mr Carr made the announcement this morning at the Sydney Opera House, where he was joined by Football Federation Australia chairman Mr Frank Lowy AC , FFA CEO Mr John O-Neill AO, Socceroos Assistant Coach Graham Arnold and current Socceroo Jason Culina.   It was also revealed that the Oceania playoff between Australia and the Solomon Islands, another of the Powerade Series of matches, would be played at Aussie Stadium in Sydney. The playoff would take place on 3 or 6 September.   The South American opponent may not be known until the final regional qualification matches on 11 October 2005. With five rounds left to play, nations that could finish in fifth position include: Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.   If Australia wins both playoffs, they will qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany - becoming only the second Socceroos team to do so.   Mr Carr congratulated the NSW Major Events Board, led by Sir Nicholas Shehadie, for its work in securing the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for Sydney.   "On the back of winning the 2009 World Masters Games, Chairman, Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE, and his board have done a great job in helping securing another marquee event for NSW," Mr Carr said.   Mr Carr said the match was part of the State Government-s ongoing commitment to football.   "We want to help to promote, grow and develop the world game in Australia," Mr Carr said. "And we want Sydney to be the football capital of Australia."   Mr Lowy and Mr O-Neill both said the FFA was delighted to bring the final stage of the world cup qualifiers to Sydney after the previous two had been held in Melbourne.   "The enthusiasm for the matches shown by Sir Nicholas Shehadie and the NSW Major Events Board was a definite factor in our decision," they said.   "The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting campaign in Australia this year and Telstra Stadium and Aussie Stadium will provide superb backdrops for what we all hope will be history making results."   Telstra Stadium CEO Ken Edwards said he was very excited that Telstra Stadium will be playing such a big part in the Socceroos- campaign to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in three decades.   "The home and away format of the World Cup qualifying makes this game so crucial, and like every other fan I-m banking on the Socceroos making history at home at Telstra Stadium," said Mr Edwards.   "For so many reasons, Telstra Stadium is the natural choice for this type of prestigious event, now and into the future. As well as providing a top-class pitch and the best facilities around, Telstra Stadium will generate the sort of electrifying atmosphere from over 80,000 passionate fans that will lift the Australian team to new heights against their South American opponents."   Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust CEO Mr Jamie Barkley welcomed the return of FIFA World Cup qualifying matches to Aussie Stadium.   "Aussie Stadium has a long and proud history in staging international football matches particularly FIFA World Cup qualifiers. We look forward to working with FFA to stage a successful match at Aussie Stadium in September to continue the Socceroos campaign for Germany," said Mr Barkley.   "The popularity of Aussie Stadium as a football venue is demonstrated by the record crowd of 43,967 when Australia drew 1-1 with Argentina in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 1993".   In May 2004, Mr Carr launched the "Freedom and Friendship Cup" between the Socceroos and Turkey. Earlier this year the Socceroos also played a historic match against Iraq in Sydney.   The NSW Government has also set up the Johnny Warren Soccer Academy - a $1.5 million initiative that will enable our best young players to access the best possible training at home. Football Federation Australia will announce ticket details for both matches in mid-June.   *(Assuming Australia beats the Solomon Islands, they would then move on to a home and away playoff against the fifth-placed team from the South American qualification)