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AFC launches AFC Asian Cup community programme

Sydney: The AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has launched a programme to engage Australia’s multicultural communities ahead of the tournament in 2015.

Organising Committee for AFC Asian Cup 2015 Chairman HRH Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah highlighted the importance of AFC Asian Cup and asked the community leaders to support the biggest football competition of the continent.

“One of the great things about Australia hosting the tournament is that so many of the countries who will play here in 2015 have large and established communities in Australia,” he said.

“More than 2 million Australians have ancestors from one of the 47 AFC nations. That is why I am pleased to see the LOC engaging with those communities.

“I expect to see great support for countries from all over Asia and of course for the Socceroos in January 2015. I encourage you all to not only attend the matches but to become part of the event.”

LOC Chief Executive Officer, Michael Brown said the Asian Cup 2015 Communities programme was developed to make the tournament accessible to all Australians.

“The strength of football in Australia is its ability to engage people of all backgrounds,” Brown said.

“AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 is the biggest football tournament this country has ever hosted. For the football-loving communities from around the world that live in Australia this is an unprecedented opportunity to see world class football in our backyard.

“As the biggest sporting event in Asia, the Asian Cup will be a particularly special event for the 2 million people of Asian descent living in Australia.

“Our goal is to make AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 a celebration of football and a celebration of multiculturalism in Australia.”

Brown said it was an honour for the LOC to have the Chairman of the AFC Asian Cup Organising Committee His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah (pictured left) in Australia to speak at the launch, attended by more than 150 multicultural community leaders and media.

NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello said football had the power to connect with people of all backgrounds.

“The NSW Government promotes community harmony through building understanding and appreciation of our differences because what we have in common transcends race, ethnicity and religion,” Dominello said.

“With one-quarter of our citizens born overseas and about 260 languages spoken here, an initiative such as the Asian Cup 2015 Communities programme complements what we are trying to achieve.”

The Asian Cup 2015 Communities program aims to engage multicultural communities in football and the AFC Asian Cup through three key activities in 2013 namely:

1. Community events: The LOC will participate in a range of multicultural community events and festivals.

2. Media: The LOC will partner with multicultural media organisations.

3. Community Ambassadors: The LOC will appoint official community ambassadors from multicultural communities.

Brown said the LOC was seeking input on how the event could be used to strengthen social and business ties both domestically and with Asia.

“I encourage community and business leaders to work with us in exploring opportunities to use the AFC Asian Cup to build links at home and abroad.”

The AFC Asian Cup is the pinnacle for the 47 nations of the Asian Football Confederation.

Australia, Japan, Korean Republic and DPR Korea have already qualified for Australia 2015. Qualifying for the remaining 12 positions is currently underway.

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 will be held played across five stadiums in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria in January 2015. The tournament is being jointly-funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian Governments.