Melbourne secures 4-year international events deal

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy has announced that the Australian state of Victoria, through the Victorian Major Events Company, had secured a package of world class football events over the next four years. Victorian premier, Steve Bracks further confirmed that the full Qantas Socceroos squad will play Greece on Thursday 25 May at the MCG before they headed to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in June.

The agreement between FFA and VMEC sees an annual Qantas Socceroo match in Melbourne for the next four years plus investment in the community through the forming of a joint government and football working committee. The four year package includes:

2006 – Powerade Cup match between Australia and Greece on Thursday 25 May at the MCG
2007 - Powerade Cup match between the Qantas Socceroos and one of the world’s best football nations
2008 - FIFA World Cup Qualifier - Australia’s first World Cup match since its membership of the Asian Football Confederation
2009 - FIFA World Cup Qualifier that could possibly decide if Australia qualifies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.

Chairman of the Victorian Major Events Company, Sir Rod Eddington, said the MCG game will be the only match the Qantas Socceroos will play in Australia before the World Cup. "VMEC won the package for Melbourne after tough negotiations," he said. "With the Volvo Ocean Race, World Surf Lifesaving Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Australian Grand Prix and now Australia versus Greece game – There is no better place to be right now than in Melbourne."

He said the matches in 2008 and 2009 would generate significant tourism and broadcast opportunities into important tourist markets for Victoria such as Japan, China, India and Korea.