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SA government willing to splurge $2 million to host Socceroos vs Japan at Adelaide Oval

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THE State Government is prepared to pay $2 million in a bid to host the Socceroos and Japan FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier at Adelaide Oval on October 11.

Football Federation Australia, which encourages state governments to lobby for Socceroos matches, has given the clash against Japan marquee status.

But if the State Government fails to win the Japan clash then the Socceroos facing Iraq in their opening round three FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier at Adelaide Oval in September is also a perfect fit.

“There is huge interest from three state governments to host the Socceroos match against Japan this October,” an FFA spokesman said.

“A decision is imminent and will be based on several factors, not least the undertakings in relation to pitch conditions, logistics and marketing.”

A resurgence in the popularity of soccer in SA which peaked with Adelaide United attracting 50,119 fans to its A-League grand final win over Western Sydney on May 1 has given the State Government confidence in winning the Socceroos.

For the first time since the redeveloped Adelaide Oval was opened for business in 2014 the SA Government is willing to bid for a massive marquee match which has usually been reserved for eastern seaboard stadiums since Australia became a member of the Asian Football Confederation a decade ago.

The Australia-Japan scenario at Adelaide Oval appears a near-perfect fit for the Socceroos, who face Saudi Arabia five days earlier on the road.

The national team could fly from Saudi Arabia to either Qatar or the UAE to board a direct flight into Adelaide from those Middle East nations.

However, the clash against Japan has been scheduled for October when Adelaide Oval could be in cricket mode.

This could sway the hosting decision towards the eastern seaboard with Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou adamant the pitch must be up to the standard his team requires.

With SACA not yet releasing key domestic cricket fixtures, the Socceroos would have access to the venue until game day, four days before Adelaide Oval hosts Monster Jam trucks.

Iraq will not cost the SA Government as much as Japan to win the hosting rights.

Not only will the scheduling suit the national team, the Socceroos also won’t bother the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide in September if the clubs are playing in the AFL finals.

The AFL has scheduled a break for the final weekend in August for eight clubs in the finals which means the Socceroos could face Iraq onSeptember 1 without worrying about clashes in scheduling.

© 2016 Fox Sports Australia | This article was written by Val Migliaccio and first appeared on Fox Sports Australia on 10 May 2016.

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