Matildas fans left fuming after big Australian states miss out on hosting Asian Cup games

Football fans in two of Australia's biggest states are crying foul.

Football fans in Victoria and South Australia are crying foul after it was announced on Monday that their states won't host any Matildas games during the Asian Cup in 2026. Football Australia revealed that NSW, Queensland and Western Australia had been nominated as the preferred locations for the continental competition, which will see some of the best countries in Asia compete down under.

Twelve teams across three groups will take part in the tournament, which was won by China that last time it was held in 2022. In March, Australia was recommended as the host nation of the 2026 edition following on from the success of last year's Women's World Cup.

The Matildas captivated the nation on their run to the semi-finals, which marked Australia's best result ever at a World Cup for a men's or women's team. It is hoped the Asian Cup in 2026 will spark similar interest, but it appears as though fans in Melbourne and Adelaide will miss out on live games.

Matildas players, pictured here before their game against Ireland at the World Cup.
Matildas players look on before their game against Ireland at the World Cup in 2023.

According to Football Australia, expressions of interest for potential venues for the Asian Cup began prior to the start of last year's World Cup, with all states and territories invited to make their pitch. According to The Guardian, the Victorian government didn't express an interest in hosting games in a move that looks rather foolish now in light of the frenzy sparked by the World Cup. A spokesperson for the Victorian government said it was a commercial decision and the state “has a packed calendar of major events, and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state over the summer months”.

Victoria also missed out on hosting games beyond the quarter-final stage of the World Cup last year due to the AFL season. That's despite Melbourne being home to the state-of-the-art “Home of the Matildas” facility, which opened just before the World Cup. However the state will host next month's A-League All-Stars games, and the Matildas and Socceroos have played several matches in Melbourne in recent years.

Matildas players, pictured here in action during the Women's World Cup in 2023.
Matildas players in action during the Women's World Cup in 2023.


Matildas fans left fuming over Asian Cup announcement

FA chief executive James Johnson said on Monday: "Hosting the Women's Asian Cup offers a golden opportunity to continue the dynamic growth and popularity of women's football in Australia. Last year's Women's World Cup laid a robust foundation, and we are eager to build upon this legacy to further enhance our football landscape both nationally and regionally.

"The backing from all levels of government is crucial as we tackle the surge in participation and the urgent need for improved facilities. This support is essential to maintain the momentum and ensure the continuous development of the sport across the country."

The Matildas last won the Asian Cup in 2010 and have recent success in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane was the site of Australia's incredible penalty shootout win over France in the World Cup quarter-finals, while Tony Gustavsson's side were unbeaten during Olympic qualification game in Perth earlier this year.

And Accor Stadium in Sydney hosted the Matildas' record home crowd of 75,784 for their opening game against Ireland at the World Cup. But fans in Melbourne and Adelaide were left crying foul on Monday that they won't be hosting games. Many in Melbourne were left fuming at the state government's decision not to express any interest, describing it as 'embarrassing' and 'pathetic'.

with AAP