Football Federation Australia is "ramping up" preparations for the AFC Asian Cup 2015 with the appointment of new members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC). The tournament is the pinnacle event of the 46 nation Asian Football Confederation, the largest affiliated continental constituent of the world football body, FIFA.
Host Australia was runners-up to Japan in the AFC Asian Cup 2011 played in Qatar.
Shane Harmon has been appointed the LOC’s Deputy CEO and General Manager Commercial. He previously worked as General Manager Marketing and Communications for the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and as Head of Marketing for Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia. In both roles he was responsible for the successful ticketing programs, which will be critical to the football competition’s success in 2015.
Alison Hill has been appointed Government Relations and Communications Manager. She is a former journalist and Chief of Staff and Media Adviser to former Australian Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib.
"Our vision is to deliver a world-class event that celebrates Asia's rich football culture and leaves an enduring legacy for the game in Australia," LOC Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown, said.
"Asia is the fastest growing football market in the world and the AFC Asian Cup 2015 is expected to reach a television audience of about 2.5 billion people. This presents an outstanding opportunity for Australia to strengthen our cultural, social and economic ties with Asia, including some of our most important trading partners.
"We’re expecting crowds of over 500,000 at matches and upwards of 50,000 international visitors. The AFC Asian Cup will be a key draw-card for tourism operators."
Brown said the Local Organising Committee would harness Australia's reputation for hosting world-class events.
"With key personnel now in place in finance, legal, strategy and planning and procurement and appointments in venues and competition roles to come, we are excited to start the hard work needed to put on an outstanding event. The first meeting of the Local Organising Committee Board will be held in the coming weeks once the board is finalised."
Matches in the 16-nation tournament will be played in the east-coast states of Victoria, NSW and Queensland and in the inland Australian Capital Territory.