HUNTER STADIUM PITCH UPGRADE READY FOR PLAY
Thursday 6 November 2014 10:38am
A $1.3 million project to resurface the pitch at Hunter Stadium has been completed, meaning world-class facilities are ready for Australia’s biggest ever football tournament, AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.
Venues NSW Chairman John Quayle conducted a final inspection of the playing surface today and congratulated HG Sports Turf on delivering an international standard pitch.
“The new playing surface at Hunter Stadium brings the turf into line with the rest of the excellent, international standard facilities at this venue,” Mr Quayle said.
“The Stadium is used year round and the construction team have done an excellent job in completing the project within the very narrow window of time between the end of the Knights’ season and the first Jets home game.”
The work elevates the profile of a venue which welcomed more than 395,000 visitors in 2013-14 as it hosted events including the Opening Ceremony of the Asia Pacific Special Olympics, the NRL Indigenous Festival and a Rugby Union International as well as home games of Newcastle’s two flagship sporting clubs, the Newcastle Jets and the Newcastle Knights.
“This season is expected to be even bigger and includes showcasing Newcastle and the Stadium to a global audience during the AFC Asian Cup in January 2015,” Mr Quayle said.
The pitch will be in the international spotlight for the first time when defending Asian Cup champions Japan begin their title challenge against Palestine on January 12.
It will be the first of four Asian Cup matches in Newcastle, including a Semi Final and the third place play-off, which will be watched by tens of millions of people throughout Asia and around the world.
AFC Asian Cup Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown said the pitch upgrade would be a major legacy from the Asian Cup for Newcastle.
“We were always keen for Newcastle to host four games of Asia’s biggest tournament and now we have ensured this opportunity to see world-class football on a world-class pitch,” Mr Brown said.
“The LOC was very pleased to work alongside the NSW Government and Venues NSW to ensure this project could go ahead.
“With fewer than 70 days to go until Japan make their first appearance, we have passed one of the major milestones in preparation for the event,” said Mr Brown.
Completion of the project means the pitch will be ready for the Newcastle Jets’ first home game of the A-League season on Saturday.
Tickets for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are on sale now at www.afcasiancup.com/tickets, with prices starting from just $15 for adults and $5 for children.
Media contact: Venues NSW (Jeff Lewis 0401 994 008)
AFC Asian Cup (Doug Conway 0408 672 383)