The Sydney Opera House will host the draw for the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015, on March 26, 2014.
The draw, the key moment in the build-up to Asia’s biggest single-sport event, will be televised live throughout Asia.
It will attract around 300 VIPs and officials from the Asian Football Confederation and the 16 competing teams.
“March 26, 2014 is a date all fans of Asian football should mark in their diaries as it is the day that groups and matches for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 will be revealed,” said AFC General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay.
“It will be an occasion not only befitting of the stature of the AFC Asian Cup but one that exemplifies Australia’s hospitality and pride in putting on world class sporting events.”
“The Sydney Opera House is an iconic location and the Asian Cup is an iconic sporting event,” said Michael Brown, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee.
“It’s the perfect fit – a prestigious venue for Asia’s most prestigious tournament.
“It’s in keeping with our goal to deliver a world class event in January 2015, and it’s fitting that the draw will take place in the great city that will host the final.”
Mr Brown said the tournament draw would add flesh to the organisational bones of Australia’s biggest football tournament, and excitement was building among fans.
“On March 26, we will know exactly which teams are playing who, and where and when they will be playing,” he said.
“Fans will finally know which matches they can see in our five host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.”
Twelve nations have already qualified for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 – Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with recent qualifiers Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.
A further four spots are at stake, one in the AFC Challenge Cup and a further three via the qualifiers which will culminate at the start of next year prior to the draw.
The final 16 teams will take part in a 23-day festival of football which the Socceroos will kick off on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.
The Socceroos will find out on March 26 who they play in the opening match.
The tournament is being jointly funded by the Australian Government and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and ACT Governments.