Socceroos want first dibs
Perth Stadium opening
Football Federation Australia is lobbying for the Socceroos to be the opening act at the new Perth Stadium.
FFA chief executive David Gallop was in Perth for a series of meetings on a range of topics with WA soccer stakeholders and the State Government.
Gallop indicated a strong desire for the Socceroos to feature when the multipurpose Burswood stadium opens in 2018.
FFA will no doubt face opposition to their plans from the AFL, which will be Perth Stadium’s major tenant when West Coast and Fremantle move their home games from Patersons Stadium to Burswood.
The 60,000-seat Perth Stadium is scheduled for completion in time for the 2018 AFL season.
“We’ve obviously got an eye on the new stadium and the potential to be heavily involved in the kick-off of that facility with the team that we say best represents the country and the diverse background of the country and its people, ” Gallop said.
“We already had a meeting last time I was here (last year) with the new stadium people and we’re really hopeful that we can be a big part of getting that stadium up and running.
“In terms of national teams, we believe the Socceroos would be the appropriate team to start that stadium’s life.”
The Socceroos have not played in Perth since a second-string outfit beat Indonesia 3-0 at Subiaco Oval in 2005.
The national team has played the majority of home fixtures over the past decade in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
FFA would only schedule a Socceroos match in Perth with considerable financial support from the State Government.
“We unashamedly regard the Socceroos as a lucrative event for State governments, ” Gallop said.
“We need to make sure that wherever the Socceroos play, the code is appropriately compensated financially. With all the will in the world, it’s still going to need a significant dollar conversation to happen.”
FFA could attract a regional powerhouse, such as Japan, China or South Korea, to play a friendly match at Perth Stadium in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Australia has also lured international powers Argentina, Uruguay, Greece and the Netherlands for home friendly matches in recent years.
Gallop said FFA had been close to finalising a friendly match against Iran in Perth before their Asian rivals pulled out of the deal.
“The Socceroos have not been to Perth for a long time and we need to rectify that, ” Gallop said.
“We probably would’ve been here in November if the matches against Iran had gone ahead, but that hit a last-minute hiccup.”
Gallop said matches had been played in the big eastern seaboard cities primarily for financial reasons while the sport regenerated in the past decade.
“But we’ve moved out of that phase now and I’m really confident that we will get the Socceroos, with a good opponent, over here in the near future, ” Gallop said.
© The West Australian
More Sport news: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/sport/