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Australia officially handed hosting rights for 2015 Asian Cup

Australia was officially handed the hosting rights to the AFC Asian Cup 2015 in a special ceremony marking the conclusion of last night's AFC Asian Cup.

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy, AC, received the AFC flag from AFC President Mohamed Bin Hamman at Khalifa Stadium in a symbolic gesture to show that Asia's largest sporting event was next heading to Australia.

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy, AC, promised Australia would put on a great AFC Asian Cup for the region's fans, teams and sponsors.

Mr Lowy said the AFC Asian Cup was the biggest sporting event in Asia and was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Australia to Asia and the rest of the world.

"Australia has a long history of hosting fantastic major international sporting events and the benefits for Australia to host an event of this kind will cement Australia's place in the Asian economic community," Mr Lowy said.

"This is a terrific boost to football in Australia at all levels and it comes as our Qantas Socceroos, the highest ranked team in Asia, were finalists in the prestigious AFC Asian Cup 2011 here in Qatar tonight.

"As we have seen with this wonderful tournament in Qatar that it is growing all the time as a regional and international event.

"We look forward to working with the AFC over coming years to make sure the AFC Asian Cup 2015 is the biggest and best ever."

The tournament will be held in January, 2015 and will be played in stadiums selected from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

It is estimated the 32 matches will attract about 500,000 spectators with the Qantas Socceroos expected to play at least one group game in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

FFA has proposed Melbourne to host the opening match and Sydney to host the final.

It is expected to bring in up to 45,000 visitors, create up to 1,000 jobs and boost GDP by $23 million.

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