Asian Cup a big miss for Adelaide

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Adelaide is a city packed full of people that are often desperate for something to do.

For those that haven’t visited the City of Churches, if you come outside of March – when the Fringe Festival, Clipsal 500 and Adelaide Cabaret take over the streets – it can be a rather dull place.

So when the state Labor government decided it was high time the city’s major sporting venue was upgraded – which was completed last year – there wasn’t really an excuse for not making the ground up to the standards of international football.

The result is this: the Socceroos play elsewhere whilst the Adelaide Oval sits around collecting the dust of its former self which lingers in its historic heir.

As the Asian Cup tears up and down the east coast of this continent, Adelaidiens are presented with a choice: fork out the bucks for a flight and hotel and watch your boys run amok interstate, or stay at home and watch it on TV. If you don’t have Foxtel – and let’s face it, you need Foxtel in Adelaide – the best you’ll get in the group stage is a two-hour delay on the ABC.

It could have been so different. There is no doubt that had the national side played a game at Adelaide Oval, at least 45,000 people would have turned up. The 25,000 that graced AAMI Park on Friday night was an impassioned lot, beaming with pride for their victorious countrymen, but surely almost double is a better result for the game.

This is meant with no disrespect for the host cities of the tournament; Melbourne always puts on a good show when it comes to sport, and Sydney and Brisbane surely won’t let anyone down either, but the numbers must do the talking, and in the case of Adelaide Oval, the numbers are quite impressive.

More than 30,000 punters watched Adelaide United draw with Melbourne Victory in the infancy of the current A-league season and the AFL season had its best yet in the state as the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power took to the ground for the first time. Likewise, the recent cricket has been an outstanding success, despite the abrupt changes in the schedule.

What could have been a tremendous international advert for the state turned out to be an expensive trip away for its citizens. What’s more annoying is the fact that the FFA tried to help the government get Adelaide Oval up to standard but the government refused.

If the Premier and his cabinet were at Adelaide airport on Friday morning, they would have seen a sea of green and gold boarding flights away from this town. Let’s hope they realise what a waste that is.

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