It was history in the making as Australia made its final presentation to the FIFA Executive Committee on 2 December at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, in a bid to win the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
Australia was the first of nine bids to make a 30 minute multi-media presentation.
On behalf of the entire nation the Governor-General of Australia Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman Frank Lowy AC, FFA CEO Ben Buckley and supermodel Elle Macpherson put Australia’s case forward. They were supported by a series of vision packages offering spectacular stadiums, iconic host cities, a fan experience to remember, a safe pair of hands and all in the world’s favourite destination.
The presentation provided an opportunity to demonstrate to FIFA the important role football has played in Australia’s past and will play in Australia’s future, particularly if Australia is successful in winning the right to host the greatest show on earth, the FIFA World Cup™.
Ms Bryce told the Executive Committee that a FIFA World Cup™ would change Australia in ways that will benefit many generations of Australians and turbo-charge the growth of football in the Asia and Pacific regions.
“The Australian Government has issued every guarantee FIFA has sought, without amendments or variations,” Ms Bryce said.
“This whole-hearted commitment is made on behalf of all our State Governments, our Federal Government and the people of Australia.
“We will devote ourselves to creating for the entire world a World Cup that is fun, relaxed, safe and secure.”
The Federal Government was also represented by Sports Minister Mark Arbib who has spent the past few days supporting the bid delegation in Zurich.
Mr Lowy told the Executive Committee that they should see Australia as a new opportunity for FIFA and for football.
“Not just in financial terms, important as that is,” Mr Lowy said.
“But it will also pay off because of the growth in the number of people who will play and watch football in our region, in the future.
“Every team will enjoy a local base of passionate ‘home country’ support.
“Teams from every country will be embraced by Australians who share their cultural roots and they will be adopted by schools and communities around the country.”
Attending the final presentation to support the delegation, Qantas Socceroo Tim Cahill said Australia would put on the best FIFA World Cup™ the world had seen.
“We have a beautiful and friendly country and our track record shows that we can do a fantastic job of holding major events,” he said.
“If given the chance we would show the world just how passionate we are about football and sport in general and we would roll out the biggest welcome ever to every team and every supporter and give them a FIFA World Cup™ to remember.”
Australia is home to the oldest cultures in the world and this was incorporated into Australia’s presentation through Rachel Perkins. Rachel is the daughter of iconic indigenous football player, Charles Perkins.
The personal story of Mr Lowy, his journey to Australia and the important role football played was also revealed.
To wrap up Australia’s final presentation a cheeky animated kangaroo, with a passion for football, travelled the globe in an effort to bring the FIFA World Cup to Australia.
To conclude Australia’s presentation, a star studded line up was rolled out to the FIFA Executive Committee Members as a demonstration of the nation’s united support for the bid, with a special Come Play! book capturing the animated kangaroo’s adventures. The book featured images of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, players from Australia’s premier domestic competition the Hyundai A-League, actress Cate Blanchett, former athlete Cathy Freeman, former footballer Harry Williams, Head Coach of the Qantas Socceroos Holger Osieck, actor Hugh Jackman, former swimmer Ian Thorpe, Indigenous football ambassador John Moriarty, Formula 1 driver Mark Webber, members of Australia’s grassroots football community, actor Paul Hogan, former Australian cricket captain Stave Waugh and players from the Qantas Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.