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Asia

Matildas in high demand as Olympic qualifier moved to Optus Stadium

Featured image credit: Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

Football Australia has announced today (Monday) that the women’s national team’s Olympic qualifier against the Philippines next month has been moved to the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium in Perth due to the huge demand for tickets.

The Matildas are scheduled to play three Olympic qualifiers in Perth against Iran on October 26, the Philippines on October 29, and Chinese Taipei on November 1. All three matches had been due to take place at the 20,500-capacity HBF Park but the middle fixture will now be held at the much larger Optus Stadium.

The venue switch comes after the ticket allocation for the three HBF Park matches was exhausted, Football Australia said. All existing ticket holders for the Philippines match and those who purchased a three-day pass have been informed of the venue change.

The news comes after the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which Australia co-hosted alongside New Zealand. The Matildas reached the semi-final of the tournament, with the team’s matches at Sydney’s Accor Stadium attracting sellout crowds of over 75,000.

It is the second time this year a Matildas match has been moved to a bigger stadium to satisfy ticket demand. Australia’s opening match at the World Cup was moved from the 42,500-capacity Allianz Stadium to Accor Stadium to maximise fan attendance.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said: “Leading into and during the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup, we have witnessed the enormous drawing power of the CommBank Matildas, with almost 450,000 supporters attending the team’s send-off match and World Cup fixtures.

“The CommBank Matildas are one of the strongest sporting brands in the country, and it has become strongly evident that passionate support for this iconic team continues to grow and, for the second time in 12 months, because of the popularity of the CommBank Matildas, we need to relocate to a venue with a higher capacity to accommodate the demand.”

Western Australia Premier Roger Cook added: “Although the rectangle stadium at HBF Park is best suited for football, given all three match days have sold out, on balance it made sense to move one to Optus Stadium, so that as many fans as possible could see the team.

“My government is proud to secure this week of football events and I thank all parties involved in making this a reality and ensuring it will be a huge success for football and our local economy.”

Last month, Australian Professional Leagues confirmed the venue plan for the opening round of the 2023-24 A-League Women season, with matches to be played at larger stadiums to capitalise on the growing interest in women’s football across the country.

The Matildas have not played in Perth since 2018, when a crowd of 7,549 attended a friendly match against Thailand at HBF Park.