How much are taxpayers spending to bring Brazil, Argentina to the ‘G?

14/08/2019 Posted by admin

Victorian taxpayers will see little change out of $10 million for the privilege of watching the SuperClasico between Argentina and Brazil at the MCG on June 9 and the match between the Socceroos and the Brazilians at the same ground on June 13.
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The deal for the two matches involving the five time world champions Brazil is a coup for , but is a tight squeeze for Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos, who will play in the Confederations Cup shortly afterwards.

But there is a very real possibility that Argentina could stay on and play another match, sources say, with an Asian team flown in to provide opposition to help them prepare for their final round of World Cup qualifiers in August, September and October.

The ns will play a crucial World Cup qualifier on June 8 against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide, then fly back to Melbourne to face the Brazilians five days later before hopping on a plane for a long international flight to Sochi, in Russia, to begin their Confederations Cup campaign a few days afterwards.

‘s first match in their group is against world champions Germany on June 19, meaning they will barely have time to acclimatise before facing off against the Germans.

Playing Brazil, a South American nation, will be good practice for the Socceroos’ subsequent Confederations Cup match against Chile.

But the timing of the game raises eyebrows given how little turnaround time the Socceroos will have before the Germany match.

And there will be questions about the likely state of the pitch given that the traditional Queen’s Birthday AFL game between Collingwood and Melbourne is due to be played at the MCG on June 12.

Still, for a cash-strapped FFA, desperate to boost its coffers in the face of increasing demands for more money from A-League clubs, any financial windfall from a game like this will sit well on the balance sheet and may have outweighed other considerations.

The Brazil game also represents a major opportunity for the FFA and the national team to rebuild its brand.

The Socceroos used to be a really hot ticket when they hardly played at home; now they are in FIFA’s Asian region the qualifying games come thick and fast, to the extent that crowds have dropped.

Many games are now played at smaller venues in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra to reflect the waning interest in games against little-known Asian opponents.

But matches involving the likes of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Neymar and the plethora of top players both Brazil and Argentina can boast on their playing roster should excite fans and bring plenty of interstate visitors to Victoria.

The $10 million cost of getting the two leading nations to for the next instalment of their long standing rivalry is similar to the amount by which taxpayers subsidised the first ICC tournament, involving Real Madrid, Manchester City and Roma in the winter of 2015.

However the government and the underwriters of the second ICC were left counting the cost last season when Juventus, Tottenham and Athletico Madrid failed to attract the same interest. During the winter of 2016 the Copa America and European Championships were played, the two international competitions having an impact on the players the big clubs sent here for the ICC.

There will not be an ICC this year as a result, although organisers hope that the appearance of Brazil and Argentina will more than compensate.

The Albicelestes are far from assured of direct World Cup qualification from their difficult South American group and there is a suggestion that head coach Edgardo Bauza may have an extended camp in Melbourne to prepare for their final four qualifiers – against Uruguay (late August) Venezuela (September) and Peru and Ecuador (October).

Conditions in Melbourne – cool at that time of year – would be ideal, and the distance would almost certainly mean the media circus that usually follows Messi and his Argentine teammates around would not be anywhere near as large.

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