Chelsea confirmed for Optus Stadium clash

English Premier League football club Chelsea has been confirmed to play a match at the newly-opened Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia later this year.

Chelsea will play an Australia-exclusive match against A-League team Perth Glory at the 60,000-seat stadium on July 23.

Mark Schwarzer, a former goalkeeper for the Australian national team who also played for Chelsea towards the end of his career, was at Optus Stadium today (Thursday) for the announcement.

“This venue is truly spectacular, I know the team will be hugely excited to be the first Premier League club to play here,” Schwarzer said. “There are thousands of passionate Chelsea supporters across Australia and south-east Asia. I’d encourage them to come and watch the team play at this world-class venue and take some extra time to enjoy the very best of Perth and Western Australia.”

Stadium chief executive Mike McKenna added: “Optus Stadium has been open for less than a month and has already had nearly 180,000 visitors attend three sold-out events, receiving rave reviews along the way.

“We can’t wait to welcome Chelsea in July, they are one of the biggest international football clubs with millions of fans around the world. To have the team play an Australian-exclusive match in our new stadium is a huge coup for the state.

“We look forward to welcoming thousands of West Australians plus visitors from interstate and overseas to Perth for this match.”

The stadium officially opened on January 21 and hosted the one-day international cricket match between England and Australia on January 28.

The venue will host its first AFL Aussie rules match on Saturday when the women’s teams of Fremantle Dockers and Collingwood face off. About 54,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which is set to smash the record attendance for an AFL Women’s fixture.

The current record is 24,500, which was set last year for Carlton’s match against Collingwood at Ikon Park. The highest attendance for a women’s Aussie rules game is 41,000, which was set in 1929 for an exhibition fixture at the Adelaide Oval.

Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich said: “As game day draws closer, it’s looking very much like an all-time record crowd will be set for women’s football on Saturday at our new world-class home ground. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our members and supporters fortunate enough to have secured tickets to be a part of a history-making day.”

In other news, Fremantle’s men’s team will wear a commemorative guernsey to showcase Optus Stadium during its first match at the venue against Essendon on March 31. The guernsey will feature the team’s trademark purple with white chevrons, with an Optus Stadium image to be projected across the centre.

Image: joshjdss