FOOTBALL fans will be shut out of a practice match between Iraq’s national football team and Perth Glory at Spearwood’s Dalmatinac Park next month.
Iraq will use the match on August 25 as a warm-up to their World Cup qualifier at Perth Oval a week later.
But the game will be played in front of empty stands because the match is closed to the public.
Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos said playing the game behind closed doors was the only way to have it sanctioned.
“To attract the calibre of a World Cup qualifier to Perth there’s a lot of commercial arrangements in place between the WA government and Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Asian Football Confederation,” he said.
“They don’t want to take away from the main game the week after, which is the Socceroos versus Iraq.”
Cockburn City Soccer Club president Heidi Lazzaro described the decision as a double-edged sword.
“The fact is we’ve got a great ground to use and it’s great that international teams are coming to use it,” she said.
“It would have been an opportunity for fans to come down and for the club to make money, but you have to respect the commercial agreements in place.
“Dalmatinac Park is a magnificent ground and we’ve got all the ticks in the right boxes from the FFA so it’s great exposure for us and the City of Cockburn.
“Maybe in the future we’ll have an opportunity for people to come down and watch.”
Iraq Football Association representative Gath Muhana arrived in Perth last week to inspect Iraq’s training grounds ahead of the World Cup qualifier.
He took time out to meet with Mr Filopoulos for a customary gift exchange.
“I’ll be looking at the stadium where we will play Perth Glory (Dalmatinac Park) and also our training stadiums for the rest of the days before the match against Australia,” he said.