Football Australia boss calls for bigger thinking in planning Olympic 2032 football stadia

September 13 – Football Australia CEO James Johnson (pictured) has told Australian Members of Parliament that they need to think bigger around their planning for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Football finals.

Coming off the back of the successfully joint hosting of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia that saw record attendance levels, Johnson said that the demand for football tickets for the Olympics in 2023 will likely be considerably bigger than the capacity in the stadiums currently chosen to host matches.

Johnson called for a review of the stadia chosen and urged government to invest in upgrading stadia to FIFA requirements.

He said this would not only benefit the Olympic hosting in 2023 but would be a strong sign of Australia’s commitment to winning the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 hosting bid as well as support any potential bid for the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2034.

“In my view, the stadia available are not big enough for football. I can categorically say that. If this is what is the case for 2032 there is going to be hundreds of thousands of fans and community members that are not going to be able to watch the CommBank Matildas or the Olyroos. They’re not going to be able to watch great global teams like the US women’s national team, or the Lionesses or Brazil, or Argentina’s men’s team,” said Johnson.

Arguing that planning now is key he said: “The question for us is can some of the decisions that are being taken right now with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games – can they be taken with a future men’s FIFA World Cup in mind so that there is no leakage of investment?”

To make his point Johnson cited the moving of the opening match of the Women’s World Cup from the 45,000 capacity Sydney Stadium to the 75,000 capacity Stadium Australia, saying that they could have sold more tickets if a bigger venue had been available.

“lf we are looking forward to how we host the 2032 football side of the tournament, we know that we will have more than 25,000 people in the stadium. We saw it at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, averaging 32,000 per match, so 25,000 is a very small stadium for football, that is one example of where we could potentially invest and make a bigger stadium that could be part of a men’s FIFA World Cup bid in the future,” said Johnson.

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