Australia is poised to host the 2015 Asian Cup,according to Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley,who said it would be the perfect dry-run for holding a World Cup.
Although a final decision is not likely to be made for a couple of years,Australia is so far the only country to put up its hand to host the showpiece Asian tournament.
“There’s nothing that we’ve heard or seen that would suggest any other country is planning to host the Asian Cup,” he told reporters.
“I can’t speak for other countries and their ambitions but at this point in time we’re the only country putting our name forward.”
He said Australia was equipped to host the event immediately. “We think we’re probably very well placed to host the Asian Cup without significant and additional infrastructure and investment,” Buckley said,adding that winning rights to the tournament would be a huge achievement.
“We shouldn’t underestimate the size and scale of the Asian Cup. You’re talking about a huge region with two thirds of the world’s population. So,behind the World Cup,the Asian Cup is probably up there in the top four or five sporting events and the top few football events in the world in terms of audiences and TV audiences and interest levels in an event.”
Australia is also bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups,and Buckley said the Asian experience would prepare them well.
“I think it’s a good test case for Australia if we were to be hosting a World Cup,” he said. “To hold an international tournament of that magnitude and that scale would be a good test of Australia’s readiness for a World Cup.”
The Asian Cup is contested by the region’s top 16 teams. Iraq are the current champions with the next tournament being played in Qatar in January 2011.