Asian Cup Community Ambassadors appointed in Melbourne

Leaders from Melbourne’s multicultural communities have been appointed as Community Ambassadors for the 2015 Asian Cup.

Leaders from Melbourne-s multicultural communities have been appointed as Community Ambassadors for the 2015 Asian Cup.

The Ambassadors will help make Asia-s premier football tournament a cultural celebration for the 2.5 million people of Asian heritage living in Australia.

“Melbourne is home to people that have come from right across the Asian continent,” said Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown.

“We are encouraging these people to come and support the Socceroos in January 2015, but also to support the country of their origin and to use the Asian Cup as an opportunity to celebrate their cultures.

“Football, more than any other sport, crosses geographic and cultural boundaries and I am sure in January 2015 we will see people of all backgrounds sitting side by side here in Melbourne watching the biggest football tournament Australia has ever hosted.”

The national teams of Japan, Korea, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia are among those likely to feature in the seven games played in Melbourne from January 9-22, 2015. Mr Brown said many of the Community Ambassadors had heritage from these countries and would work with the Local Organising Committee to promote the event in their local communities.

President of the Iranian Society of Victoria, Mehdi Soodi, grew up in Iran and remembers watching the famous Iran-Australia World Cup qualification campaign at home in Tehran. As an Australian citizen now, Mr Soodi will support both Iran and the Socceroos in January 2015.

“I guarantee that the Iranian national team will enjoy very strong support from the local community in Melbourne, as of course will the Socceroos.”

Ken Lam founded the Melbourne Chinese Soccer Association, a competition with more than 500 registered players, most of who have Chinese Heritage. Mr Lam is excited about the prospect of not only watching China and Australia play but for the opportunity to see international football.

“I-m looking forward to the fact that in January 2015, people will be able to see world class players competing on our home soil and hopefully this will inspire our young people to become world class players themselves.”

Mr Brown said more than 150 Community Ambassadors would be appointed across the five host cities for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 and each would assist engage their community in their own unique way.

“Our Community Ambassadors come from a variety of backgrounds,” Mr Brown said.

“We have some who manage community organisations, others run foreign-language newspapers here in Australia. The commonality between all is that they are leaders of their communities and are excited about contributing to make the 2015 Asian Cup a great event for all Australians.”

AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 will take place from January 9-31 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

Australia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea have now been joined by qualifiers Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Uzbekistan, with four further spots to be decided next year.

The tournament is being jointly funded by the Australian Government and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and ACT Governments.