Australia's 2015 Asian Cup has formed a strategic alliance with the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games to celebrate Newcastle's involvement as a host city for both events.
The partnership was sealed at a friendly mini-match involving two Newcastle Jets A-League players and Special Olympics footballers at Hunter Stadium last week.
The Hunter Stadium is the venue for the opening ceremony on December 1 of the first ever Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games (SOAPG) for athletes with an intellectual disability.
It will also host four matches, including a semi-final and the third-fourth place play-off, at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia.
The Asian Cup/Special Olympics alliance will involve both organisations in a knowledge sharing agreement.
Member for Newcastle, Tim Owen said the strategic alliance comes as great news for Newcastle and NSW.
“The 2015 Asian Cup will be the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia. This alliance between the Asian Cup and the Special Olympics will involve both organisations in a knowledge-sharing agreement, which will offer significant mutual benefits,” he said.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris said that the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, was proud to support the Special Olympics, which is expected to bring an economic impact of over $8 million to the region.
“I commend the Asian Cup/Special Olympics alliance on its collaborative focus in sharing knowledge as well as working to achieve beneficial outcomes for all involved. The alliance will provide a major boost for both events,” he said.
The Asian Cup is Asia's biggest sporting event. The 2015 tournament in Australia will be broadcast to 80 countries with a potential television reach of 2.5 billion.
About 3,500 international media and 45,000 tourists are expected to come to Australia for the event.
It will feature Asia's top 16 teams playing 32 matches from January 9-31, 2015, in five host cities ‚Äì Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.
The AFC Asian Cup 2015 is being jointly-funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victorian governments.
The Special Olympics football competition in Newcastle will consist of men's 11 a-side, and men's and women's 5 a-side and will start on Monday 2 December through until Friday 6 December. All games will be played at No. 2 Sportsground.