Since they have been the hosts in 1993 of the FIFA under 20 World Cup, Australia has been out of hosting youth tournaments, but not for any longer. The Football Federation Australia has expressed its intent to lodge a bid for the 2020 or 2021 U19 Youth Championships. This is however only one of the tournaments which the FFA is planning on bidding on.
Due to their proximity to the South Eastern parts of Asia, both Darwin in the Northern Territory and Perth in Western Australia could be hosts to the ASEAN Football Federation’s youth tournament. This falls entirely within the plans of the FFA to expand its footprint within the south-eastern regions of Asia. Being able to host this prestigious event will shed much-needed light onto the development of the Young Socceroos. Recently the FFA was criticized for neglecting to look after these youngsters. This young team was this year’s champions in the AFF U19 championships which took place only a few months ago when they defeated Malaysia 1-0.
The AFF Women’s Tournament
The FFA seems to also have their eye on hosting the AFF women’s tournament which is scheduled to take place around the same time. Australia is, in fact, a great contender to be the host. Roughly around one million Australians are of ASEAN heritage or were born there. This serves as a great indication to Mark Falvo, the Chief Operating Officer as well as the Head of International Relations for the FFA, that the tournament will not only be well received within the country but also well attended.
He furthermore stated that the ASEAN region is becoming much stronger in both their economic growth as well as their quality of football delivered. They have a great passion for the game. He confirmed that locally they have already been swamped with meeting with relevant councils and committees and hosted workshops to develop various programs to improve the sport in their region too. The next step which they need to take to keep the momentum of the process going is to host an ASEAN event, and since certain areas within the country are geographically suited, this is perfect.
The AFF was established in 1984. It represents the 12 countries in the ASEAN nations. These are Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Timor-Lester, Singapore and the Philippines. This list is inclusive of some of the nations which are showing the most rapid growth within football. Last year, the FFA was also present at the AFF Suzuki Cup. This is the senior tournament. Then talks already started about Australia joining this tournament, regardless of the logistic challenges of these games being played outside of the international windows of FIFA.