Brisbane Roar players have raved about the playing surface after their first training session at the Gold Coast stadium that will host the club’s forthcoming three Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Group Stage games.
The focus was on ball work as the club’s Hyundai A-League squad did a solid 90-minute morning session at Cbus Super Stadium at Robina on Monday.
Roar captain and Socceroo Matt McKay described the surface as “incredible”.
“We trained there this morning and it was a real treat for us not having to worry about our first touch. It’s a really good surface,” McKay said.
“(The surface at) Suncorp is improving as well (after recent criticism) but we’ll be delighted to give Suncorp a rest and play down here.”
Roar’s international marquee player, German Thomas Broich, described the stadium as “paradise” and said he was happy to be part of bringing top football back to the Gold Coast region.
“It’s great to come back to the Gold Coast and I expect a good crowd,” Broich said.
Ticketing and transport details for the three matches – Wednesday, 25 February (opponent not yet confirmed), Tuesday, 17 March (Suwon Bluewings) and Tuesday, 5 May (Urawa Red Diamonds)– will be announced in coming days.
Admission is just $10 for adults and $5 for children with special three-game packages to be offered. Tickets include free return train transport from Brisbane.
McKay urged Roar supporters to take the free trains to Robina for AFC Champions League Matchday One and called on Gold Coast football fans to also turn out in force.
“There are a lot of supporters down here . . . hopefully they will jump on the Roar bandwagon,” McKay said.
“We’ve been extremely successful in the last few years and we want to continue that in this Champions League competition.
“These games are big games. We’ve got a Japanese team (Urawa Red Diamonds), a Korean team (Suwon Bluewings) and maybe a Chinese team. These are well supported sides with extremely good players . . . it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Broich said Western Sydney’s success in winning the 2014 AFC Champions League proved the long-held belief that a team from Australia could go all the way in the competition.
“So why can’t we do it?”, Broich said.
“We stand for attacking football, we want to score some goals and entertain the crowd.
“The team is looking pretty good, the structure is good at the moment and the intensity is good.
“No matter what competition we play in, we go out there to win. We want to enjoy every game and be as successful as we can. The sky’s the limit.”
City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate also called on all sports fans to embrace the return of international football to the region.
“It’s fantastic the Roar fans can share their superstars with us because right now we are barracking for the Roar too,” Mayor Tate said.
“The Roar are true champions, their fans are high energy and I think Gold Coast kids will embrace them with full vigour.”
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
Question: What is the Asian Football Confederation’s rule on venues in the Group Stage of the 2015 Champions League?
Answer: AFC Champions League competition regulation 19.3 states: “Each Participating Club must play their home Matches in the one and only Stadium.” The rules go on to say that once the first match of the Group Stage is played in a chosen stadium “a Participating Club cannot change Stadium during the Competition unless forced to do so because of circumstances beyond its control.”
Q: Did the Roar pursue other options once it was known Suncorp Stadium was unavailable because of a concert booking the day before Matchday One on 25 February?
A: Brisbane Roar FC has been in regular dialogue with the AFC and the FFA to seek guidance on the Champions League competition regulations and to discuss possible options the club might explore because of the concert booking at Suncorp Stadium.
Q: Why couldn’t the Roar play its Champions League Group Stage matches at another Brisbane venue such as Ballymore, Perry Park, QSAC or the Gabba?
A: A number of alternate venues in Brisbane were considered in recent weeks and assessed in accordance with AFC-mandated minimum standards for suitable stadiums. These standards include stadium capacity, player facilities, electronic scoreboards, wi-fi connectivity and availability for pre-match training.
Gold Coast Stadium at Robina met all requirements under the AFC’s rules. Other sporting event bookings over coming weeks ruled out several venues.
Q: Why is playing these matches on the Gold Coast good for Brisbane Roar FC?
A: Brisbane Roar FC is the only Hyundai A-League club in Queensland and is likely to remain so in the immediate future under the FFA’s well-publicised views on possible expansion of the competition. Under that scenario there is an obligation on BRFC to reach out to all football fans in the state and in particular in south-east Queensland.
The club is not only doing this by playing three AFC Champions League matches on the Gold Coast but it is also working on a much broader plan to provide community engagement, skills clinics and a clear development pathway for talented Queensland youngsters to fulfil their football ambitions.
We are already making contact with clubs and schools in the region to discuss future opportunities and urge organisations interested in getting involved in our many community and coaching programs to contact Brisbane Roar FC.
As we expand our footprint across our home region and increase our fan base, Brisbane Roar FC will become stronger and even more empowered to continue the high standards of success that are in the DNA of our club.