Cessnock part of FFA bid to host Asian Football Confederation under-17s women's championship qualifiers

SHOWCASE: Baddeley Park could play host to the Junior Matildas and up to four other Asian teams if the FFA-Cessnock City Council bid to host the AFC Under-17s Women's Championship qualifiers is successful.
SHOWCASE: Baddeley Park could play host to the Junior Matildas and up to four other Asian teams if the FFA-Cessnock City Council bid to host the AFC Under-17s Women's Championship qualifiers is successful.

Football Federation Australia has partnered with Cessnock City Council to submit a bid to host qualification fixtures for the 2022 Asian Football Confederation under-17 Women's Championship.

If successful in its bid, Cessnock will host the Junior Matildas and up to four other Asian teams for the first round of qualifying matches, which will be played in April next year.

Up to 10 fixtures would be held at Baddeley Park, while Turner Park at Aberdare and Weston's Rockwell Automation Park have been proposed as prospective training sites.

Cessnock was earlier this year announced as a proposed base camp option for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and mayor Bob Pynsent says hosting the elite youth teams would be another great chance to showcase the city.

"We welcome this partnership opportunity and are continually looking for opportunities to best utilise the facilities we have here in our local government area," he said.

"Our previous experience in hosting international sporting teams has been extremely positive.

"It's a chance to show off the region and all we have to offer.

"It also means our community get to spectate some quality sport.

"There's no doubt the people of Cessnock are sports lovers."

FFA chief executive officer James Johnson said they are delighted to be working with the "proactive" Cessnock City Council on the bid.

"This type of activity will help ensure FFA can fulfil its mission to become the centre of women's football in Asia-Pacific and continue to grow interest and participation in the women's game," he said.

"It is also a priority for FFA to host more national team matches on home soil, so the prospect of earning the right to host this qualification group and taking fixtures of national and international importance to a regional centre eager to invest in Australian football is something we are thrilled with."

Johnson said the FFA will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, nationally and internationally, and will work with Cessnock City Council, the NSW Government and Federal Government to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all participants and the community is protected should Australia be successful in its bid.

The AFC will award the hosting rights for the round one qualification groups in the coming months.

The qualifying rounds will determine the eight teams that will compete in the AFC under-17 Women's Championship tournament in April 2022 (with the host nation to be announced).

The top three teams will then qualify as the AFC representatives for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.