The people of Australia are the “secret weapon” of Australia’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup™ according to the Chairman of Football Federation Australia (FFA), Frank Lowy.
“We believe this bid is realistic and it’s achievable,” he told an audience of politicians, media, past, present and aspiring Socceroos and FFA partners.
Mr Lowy said that hosting the FIFA World Cup™ would be good for football, but also good for Australia.
“Hosting the World Cup would provide Australia with an unparalleled opportunity and give Australia a lasting and living legacy for generations to come.
“On the world stage, there is no event with the same level of global appeal or audience reach as the FIFA World Cup™.”
Mr Lowy said that the cumulative global television audience in 2006 was 26.2 billion with the single largest audience group coming from the Asian Football Confederation, of which Australia is a member.
“Asia is on the rise economically, in terms of goods and services and in football,” he said.
“Australia is part of the Asian Football Confederation and is in the Asian time zone.”
Mr Lowy said that Australia also has a proud record in hosting major events.
“Bidding for, and hosting, the FIFA World Cup™ is a natural corollary of our proud history in staging major events as a strategy to grow, develop and promote Australia as a nation”.
“Events such as the 1956 and 2000 Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Indy 500, the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the Australian Open, the FIFA World Youth Cup and World Youth Day have all added to Australia’s reputation and image as a nation, and as a serious and credible contender in major event hosting and management.”
But Mr Lowy said that Australia’s “secret weapon” is the Australian people, and Australia as a destination.
“People from all over the world want to visit our country”.
“Thanks to the performance of the Qantas Socceroos at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany, as well as the many thousands of Australian fans who followed them, the rest of the world has a very positive view of us.”
Today’s launch unveiled a website for Australia’s bid at www.australia2018-2022.com.au which is a football-themed social networking site.
“We invite people from all over Australia and the world to join the bid by signing onto our website,” Mr Lowy said.
“Our aim is to show FIFA and the football world that we are passionate about football and welcoming the world.”
FFA also unveiled a promotional film which showcases Australia as a destination, as well as its football and event hosting credentials, encouraging the world to ‘Come Play!’.
The film showcases the Qantas Socceroos as well as a ball travelling around Australia visiting every state and territory showcasing cities, stadia, the outback, wineries and beaches with everyday Australians in a playful mood.
A surprise appearance in the promotional film involves Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“We are delighted that the Prime Minister accepted our invitation to be in the promotional film as it emphasises to the international community that our bid is backed by the Government.
“This bid is for football, but it is also for Australia,” Mr Lowy said.
“We have many milestones between today and when the decision is made and we hope that all Australians can join this bid 100 per cent.”
FFA will be required to make a final presentation to FIFA, football’s world governing body, in December 2010 prior to a decision behind made.
“I have the personal commitment of our political leaders to this bid,” said Mr Lowy.
“We have the goodwill and support of other sporting codes around the country.
“And we now invite all Australians to enlist in what we hope will be an exciting and successful campaign to bring the greatest show on earth to the world’s greatest playground.”