Friday, January 12, 2007

South Australia wins Olympic qualifying hosting

Following the successful hosting of the AFC Asian Women’s Cup, the Australian state of South Australian has signed an agreement with Football Federation Australia to host Australia's U-23s in their home Olympic Games qualifying matches for an undisclosed fee. "This is another great event win for our State," SA Premier Mike Rann said. "The Olympic Games form a very special part of Australian sporting culture and we are honoured to assist the Australian U-23 men’s football team in their efforts to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The decision by the Football Federation Australia to use Adelaide as the team base also reinforces the reputation of South Australia to successfully stage a range of major and world standard sporting events.

Since Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation 12-months ago, the qualifying path to the Olympic Games has changed substantially, and could involve up to 14 matches, seven of which would be played in Australia with the first 4 matches confirmed for Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide. The first of the 2008 Olympic Games preliminary qualifying matches will be played at Hindmarsh on 7 February 2007 (kick-Off 7:30pm ACDT) against Chinese Taipei with the return leg to played on 14 February. Australia must win those matches to progress into the next qualifying stage.

Should the Australia U23s place in the top two positions of Group D, they will play in the final home and away round which will be held from 22 August–21 November 2007, with the three group winners representing Asia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The draw and venues for these home matches have yet to be confirmed.

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