WA football fans have missed out on the chance to watch homegrown superstar Sam Kerr lead the Matildas in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
But the blow could be softened if the WA Government is successful in its bid to host the Socceroos 2022 World Cup qualifying clash with Japan next year.
Tourism WA has had talks with Football Australia about staging the match on March 24 at Optus Stadium.
The discussions are at an early stage and Tourism WA is waiting for the bid documents to be released.
A Football Australia spokesman said: “Documents will be issued to all states and all process will be followed.”
A State Government spokesperson said: ”Due to the competitive nature of the events industry, we don’t comment specifically on potential event discussions, decisions or negotiations.
“We’re always looking for new events to be hosted in Western Australia to show off our wonderful State, world-class sporting facilities and vibrant city and will be boosted with yesterday’s announcement of an additional $9 million to attract blockbuster international events to Perth and WA.
“This extra funding is on top of the existing events budget of $77 million over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to attract and secure major events to our state, which has previously been successful in attracting European football giants Manchester United and Chelsea, and the UFC to WA.”
The Socceroos are currently third in Group B, with four matches remaining, trailing Japan and an undefeated Saudi Arabia.
WA lost out on a Matildas game despite the State Government committing $35 million to upgrade HBF Park to ensure games can be played at the stadium.
HBF Park will host just five group fixtures, none of them with drawcard top seeds like current champion US or Olympic champion Canada, reducing the potential of the tourism dollar.
The Matildas will play exclusively in the eastern states, with their group games in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
If they advance as expected they will play their Round of 16 game and possible quarter and semi-finals in either Sydney or Brisbane with the final at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
Sports minister Toni Buti said: “We love Sam Kerr and the Matildas as much as anyone and will support them wherever they play.
“We know at some stage she’ll return home and we’ll get to see her play in WA.”
Football West chief executive James Curtis said: “Football West would have loved for Perth to host the Matildas and we are very confident Sam Kerr and the rest of the team will be coming to WA in the lead-up to the tournament.
“After WA missed out on previous events such as the 2015 Asian Cup, we know the WA public are right behind this tournament and they will be out in force.”
Perth Glory women’s captain Natasha Rigby said she was disappointed not to have Matildas in Perth.
“But we’ll be so happy to have any of the games here,” she said.
“Its a great opportunity for WA and for women’s football. We have to leverage that in terms of participation.”.
Better lighting, a pitch upgrade, better player facilities and temporary infrastructure including additional seating for players are part of the HBF Park upgrade.
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