Melbourne To Host 2015 Asian Cup Opener, Final In Sydney

by
Reuters
The 2015 Asian Cup will kick off in Melbourne on Jan. 9 with local organisers confident the event can showcase Australia's capability of hosting world class sporting events.

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

The 2015 Asian Cup will kick off in Melbourne on Jan. 9 with local organisers confident the event can showcase Australia's capability of hosting world class sporting events.

Melbourne would also host the opening ceremony before the three-week, 32-match tournament culminates in the final at Sydney's Stadium Australia on Jan. 31, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Wednesday.

"Looking at the progress made so far and Australia's rich sporting culture, I expect this AFC Asian Cup to be better than all previous editions," AFC vice president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said in a statement.

Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle are the three other venues for the 16th edition of the tournament, which Australian Sports Minister Kate Lundy believes will strengthen the country's image as a major sporting nation.

"The spin-off from the cup will be enormous for Australia with a global TV audience of more than 2.5 billion people expected and an estimated 45,000 international visitors set to visit our shores," she said.

As well as the hosts, North Korea, reigning champions Japan and 2011 third-placed finishers South Korea have already booked their places at the 16-team finals.