The Matildas will move an Olympic qualifier to Perth Stadium to accommodate tens of thousands more fans trying to get tickets.
- Three Olympic qualifying matches were set to be played at Perth Rectangular Stadium
- The second of those games, against Philippines on October 29, will now be played at the nearby AFL stadium that holds 40,000 more fans
- The Matildas averaged crowds of more than 50,000 across the World Cup and their final warm-up match
Fresh off their fourth-placed finish at the Women’s World Cup last month, the Matildas are scheduled to play three qualifying matches in October and November for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
The games — against Iran on October 26, Philippines on October 29 and Chinese Taipei on November 1 — were originally slated to be played at Perth Rectangular Stadium, which has a capacity just over 20,000.
But Football Australia said, due to “soaring demand” for tickets, the Philippines game will be moved to the nearby AFL ground in the city, which holds 60,000 fans.
“Although the Rectangle Stadium at HBF Park is best suited for football, given all three match days have sold out, on balance it made sense to move one to Optus Stadium, so that as many fans as possible could see the team,” Western Australia Premier Roger Cook said.
When asked why only one of the three games was moved, a Football Australia spokesperson said: “HBF Park is Perth’s traditional home of football and deserves to host international content like this.”
The spokesperson said fan feedback told them the Sunday game against Philippines would provide the best opportunity for families and people who need to travel to attend, as opposed to the other two games on a Thursday and Monday.
Football Australia chief executive James Johnson thanked the West Australian government for facilitating the venue change.
“Leading into and during the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup, we have witnessed the enormous drawing power of the Matildas, with almost 450,000 supporters attending the team’s send-off match and World Cup fixtures,” Johnson said.
“The Matildas are one of the strongest sporting brands in the country, and it has become strongly evident that passionate support for this iconic team continues to grow and, for the second time in 12 months, because of the popularity of the Matildas, we need to relocate to a venue with a higher capacity to accommodate the demand.”
Australia’s opening Women’s World Cup match against Ireland was moved from the 42,500-capacity Sydney Football Stadium to Stadium Australia, which can accommodate 83,500 people.
People who already bought tickets for the relocated Olympic qualifier will have access to repurchase those from next Tuesday at 10am AWST, while the extra 40,000 will be available to the wider public from 2pm the same day.