Football Federation Australia is "keen to lure" the world's top three women's football teams -- the U.S., England and Germany -- to Australian soil to play the Matildas, according to Anthony Colangelo of THE AGE. FFA's "strongest push" is being directed at world No. 1 the U.S., which the Matildas have "only played twice in Australia" out of their 14 meetings since '00. There is a push from Matildas coach Alen Stajcic to make a clash against the U.S. the first game to be held at the new Parramatta Stadium, which will be complete by mid-'19. The Women's World Cup will be played from June-July '19, "so depending on the completion of the stadium, the fixture would most likely happen after the World Cup." FFA Head of Community, Development & Women's Football Emma Highwood did not confirm or deny a "desire for the potential Parramatta Stadium game but did reveal the federation's aim" to play the U.S. on home soil. Highwood added that FFA wanted as many games as possible in Australia against Germany (world No. 2), England (world No. 3) and Canada (world No. 4) over the next few years. Highwood: "We have been in discussions with the USA so we will continue those discussions and we think that it would be a massive opportunity to get them here. We are aiming to get the USA here because they are the best team in the world. And if we want to win a World Cup, we need to get used to beating these teams" (THE AGE, 12/11).
Events and Attractions
Birmingham submitted a revised bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation "in a final attempt to convince the body it can act as host city" for the '22 event, according to Duncan Tift of THE BUSINESS DESK. The city thought it had secured the sporting event "after it was the only city to submit a bid" before the Sept. 30 deadline. However, the CGF reopened the bidding for the 2022 Games after it judged Birmingham's bid as not "fully compliant." One of the main "stumbling blocks" was thought to be the Athletes Village and the ability of the city to provide accommodation for all competitors. The CGF set a "fresh" deadline of Nov. 30 for all interested parties to enable the submission of fully compliant proposals. The CGF received updates from Australia, Canada, England and Malaysia but was "not clear on whether fresh bids had been submitted" (THE BUSINESS DESK, 12/11).
India will host 81 cricket matches across various formats from '19-23, 30 more than the current Future Tours Programme, but the BCCI "insisted that the number of playing days per year for the ever-busy cricketers will decrease," according to the PTI. The new FTP was agreed in principle by the members at a BCCI special general meeting on Monday. The next FTP cycle at home "will include high-profile series" against England, South Africa and Australia. Another "significant decision" taken at the SGM was to host Afghanistan for the first test match between the two teams. The dates of the historic test "will be chalked out later" (PTI, 12/11). The PTI also reported the Pakistan Cricket Board questioned the BCCI's proposed FTP structure for the '19-'23 cycle, which "does not feature" Indo-Pak bilateral series. The BCCI "maintained its stance that unless the Government of India gives clearance, no bilateral series (home or away) will be possible." PCB "made it clear" to the Int'l Cricket Council that if it gets a favorable verdict in the dispute resolution process that it initiated against the BCCI, it will "object to the current FTP structure" (PTI, 12/11).
Premiership Rugby side Saracens' rearranged European Champions Cup game against Top14 side Clermont Auvergne "will be open to supporters after all," according to the PA. The game at Allianz Park was originally scheduled for Sunday but "adverse weather conditions around the stadium saw it called off." European Professional Club Rugby then announced that due to "health and safety concerns," the Pool 2 match would kick off at 5:30pm on Monday behind closed doors. But Saracens later announced supporters would "be welcome at Allianz Park after an assessment of the stadium facilities overnight" (PA, 12/11).
'TALE OF THE ABSURD': In London, Gerard Meagher reported Clermont Auvergne "lambasted" the situation around the "hastily rearranged" Cup match as "a tale of the absurd." Clermont complained that it had not been included in negotiations between the tournament organizers, EPCR and Saracens over when the match was to be played, accusing them of "messing about" their fans and treating them like "toys." In a statement, Clermont said, "The weekend should have been a rugby celebration between the two European finalists; whatever happens on the Allianz Park pitch this afternoon, it will remain yet another episode of the amateurism that sometimes affects our sport" (GUARDIAN, 12/11).