The Asian Cup trophy (Getty)

(WFI) Sydney Opera House will host the draw for the AFC Asian Cup 2015, the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, on March 26.

The draw will be televised live throughout Asia. It will attract around 300 VIPs and officials from the Asian Football Confederation and the 16 competing teams.

“It will be an occasion not only befitting of the stature of the AFC
Asian Cup but one that exemplifies Australia’s hospitality and pride in
putting on world-class sporting events,” said AFC general secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay.

Michael Brown, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Australia
2015 Local Organising Committee, said the Sydney Opera House was the “perfect fit – a prestigious venue for Asia’s most prestigious tournament.

“It’s
in keeping with our goal to deliver a world-class event in January
2015, and it’s fitting that the draw will take place in the great city
that will host the final.”

He added: “On March 26, we will know exactly which teams are playing who, and where and when they will be playing. Fans will finally know which matches they can see in our five host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.”

Twelve nations have already qualified for the 2015 Asian Cup – Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with recent qualifiers Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

Four more spots are at stake, one in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup and a further three via the qualifiers which will culminate at the start of next year prior to the draw.

The final 16 teams will take part in a 23-day festival of football which the Socceroos will kick off on Jan. 9, 2015, in Melbourne. The final is set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on Jan. 31.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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