Football Federation Australia (FFA) are confident a successfully staged Asian Cup can provide some vital political muscle to the organisation.
The FFA were caught well and truly offside in November when the Asian Football Confederation cut Australia’s automatic qualifying spots for the Asian Champions League from two to just one.
The surprise move prompted calls from two-time A-League championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou to boycott the AFC qualifying process.
Regardless, the FFA is expected to have to work hard on and off the field to regain the lost spot.
FFA chief executive Gallop, who was only two weeks into his new role when Australia lost their second AFC automatic qualifying spot, said the 2015 Asian Cup would provide the opportunity to do just that.
“That loss of the Champions League spot took a lot of people by surprise and we need to do a lot of work to ensure our position in the AFC is recognised,” Gallop said at an event to mark two years before the Asian Cup begins.
“We need to put ourselves in the position to ensure these sort of surprises don’t happen again.
“It’s a matter of allocation resources to the issue and it is one of our priorities at the moment.”
Asian Cup Organising committee chief executive Michael Brown said he was confident Australia’s hosting of the event would bring it closer to other countries in the region.
“We are working closely with the Asian Football Confederation to ensure Australia hosts a world-class event which celebrates football and continues Australia’s reputation for sporting event excellence,” Brown said.
“Our vision is to deliver a world-class event that celebrates Asia’s rich football culture and leaves an enduring legacy for the game in Australia.
“This presents an outstanding opportunity for Australia to strengthen our cultural, social and economic ties with Asia, including some of our most important trading partners.
“The Federal Government’s Asian Century White Paper acknowledged the power of sport to bridge language and cultural barriers and serve as a platform to build relationships.
“It confirms that events like the Asian Cup offer opportunities for Australia to build on our international reputation for delivering major sporting events, and to promote Australian tourism, trade and other interests in Asia.”
Australia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea have qualified for the 2015 Asian Cup, with qualifying for the remaining spots to begin on February 6 in Jordan.
The final will be held at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium with the Socceroos to play each of their three pool matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
The FFA are expecting expecting around 45,000 international visitors to come to Australia for the event and said that the 2011 event, in which Australia was defeated by Japan 1-0 in the final, was watched by 500 million people.