September 27 – The Australian FA has negotiated a significant breakthrough with local government authorities to allow the country to host major events in the face of some of the world’s most inflexible covid-19 restrictions that were turning the country into something of a sporting pariah.
Having been forced to play their World Cup men’s qualifiers outside the country, seen their men’s teams pull out of the Champions League and in other sports seen their Rugby League team pull out of their World Cup at the last minute and forcing its postponement, trust in Aussie sports administrators was becoming thin on the ground.
For FIFA the ruling to allow the Matildas to host Brazil in a two-match series in New South Wales on October 23 and October 26 at CommBank Stadium will be a relief with preparation for the joint hosting of the 2023 Women’s World Cup beginning with a background of national intransigence regarding pandemic health regulations.
The agreement also opens the opportunity for the men’s team, the Socceroos, to host their crucial World Cup 2022 qualifier against Saudi Arabia on March 11, as well as a two-match series between the Commonwealth Bank Matildas and current World Champions, USA, also in November.
FFA chief executive officer James Johnson said: “We have made it our priority to bring our national teams home for international football, so this is a phenomenal outcome for Australian football and one which we have been working tirelessly towards behind the scenes with both the Federal and NSW Government for a considerable amount of time, and appreciate the efforts of the NSW Government in particular…
“Our team at Football Australia put together a submission based on global best practice, focused on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of players and staff, which has been accepted by the NSW Government and aligns nicely with its roadmap to opening up.”
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