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Volume 7 No. 149

Events and Attractions

The Matildas will "warm up" for the 2019 Women's World Cup with a four-team tournament to be held "on home soil" in February and March, according to the London GUARDIAN. Manager Alen Stajcic’s side will be joined at the inaugural Cup of Nations by fellow World Cup participants Argentina, South Korea and New Zealand for three doubleheaders at Jubilee Stadium in Sydney, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and AAMI Park in Melbourne. The six-match competition, inspired by the "successful" Tournament of Nations held in the U.S. for the past two years, will give the Australian football public "a chance to bid farewell to the team" before it heads to France for the World Cup beginning on June 7. Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said, "We’ve been working towards hosting a four-nation tournament in Australia for some time and it’s great to finally unveil what we plan on becoming a regular feature of the Australian sporting calendar. All four sides will be aiming for success at the World Cup, and we expect the quality of the six matches to be world-class" (GUARDIAN, 12/18). In Sydney, Vince Rugari reported the Cup of Nations is an audition "in more ways than one." For Matildas players, it is "one more chance to convince" Stajcic that they belong in his "first-choice team" for the WWC. For Australian football "more broadly," it is "another opportunity to show how good the 2023 World Cup could be" if it was held in Australia. If recent friendlies "are any indication, there should be excellent crowds in all three cities." Gallop: "Any time we get an opportunity to showcase the game and where it's at, particularly women's football, it's a reminder to FIFA that we've got the ability to host world-class tournaments. Although it's only a week, we will show that Australians would get behind a Women's World Cup" (SMH, 12/18).

The prize pot for the Copa Libertadores will more than double next year, CONMEBOL said on Monday. CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez announced clubs competing in South America’s premier club competition will share $161.9M in '19, up 56% from $103.85M this year, with the champions "expected to bank" at least $20.4M. By comparison, UEFA will distribute €1.94B ($2.2B) to the clubs that qualified for the Champions League group stage in '18-19 (REUTERS, 12/17).

The NBA announced details of the second annual Jr. NBA Global Championship, a youth tournament for the top 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls from around the world that will be held on Aug. 6-11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Thirty-two teams will participate in a week of on-court competition and off-court programming centered on the Jr. NBA's core values of teamwork, respect, determination and community (NBA). 

Hong Kong Olympic Committee President Timothy Fok Tsun-ting urged the Hong Kong government to "act fast" in supporting the city's bid for the 2021 World Beach Games, "warning that others may also join the fray." Fok said, "Their preparation work is very impressive and if they can stage the Asian Beach Games, they can also go for the World Beach Games" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 12/18).

Scottish Premiership side Rangers supporters will take up less than half of the South Stand at Hibernian on Wednesday after Rangers had its ticket allocation "reduced for the televised Easter Road match." Due to demand from home fans, Hibs officials decided to give Rangers just under 2,000 briefs in the 3,900-capacity away end. Rangers is "traditionally" given the entire stand (HERALD SCOTLAND, 12/17).