Perth gearing up for World Cup action

Organisers Bryan Raeburn and Miguel Maron at the Minfootball World Cup stadium in Langley Park. Picture: Andrew Ritchie. d495615
Organisers Bryan Raeburn and Miguel Maron at the Minfootball World Cup stadium in Langley Park. Picture: Andrew Ritchie. d495615

PERTH is about to get a rare dose of competitive, international football, but not like anything you have seen before.

From October 1-11, the city will host 32 teams from around the globe, all vying for glory in the World Minifootball Federation (WMF) World Cup.

Langley Park on the Swan River foreshore is currently being transformed into a 3000 capacity arena with a synthetic pitch, world class lighting and an adjacent fan zone for the world’s premier six-aside football tournament.

Players from traditional powerhouses such as Brazil, Argentina and England will descend on the city over the next few weeks, while the USA team could potentially boast former Everton, Bayer Leverkusen and LA Galaxy player Landon Donovan (157 international games, 57 international goals).

A swag of famous names, including three-time heavyweight champion and Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko and ex-Socceroo Robbie Slater, will also be in town to promote the event.

Australian Minifootball vice president Bryan Raeburn said the six-versus-six format made for a more condensed, entertaining version of the world game.

“It’s like a Big Bash of football, with more goals, it’s quicker, more interchanges and high tempo excitement,” he said.

While the full squads are yet to be announced, Raeburn said the preliminary squads packed a punch and featured many former professionals from the 11-aside game.

“Brazil are bringing ex-professionals who have played at Flamengo, the Ukranians are bringing a few ex-Champions League players who have played against Barcelona,” he said.

“It’ll be good for people and the youth to see what it takes to be a high level player at a World Cup.”

Raeburn claimed the previous tournament in 2019 had been watched by 273m worldwide and the event was a chance to put Perth on the map.

“It’s bringing the world to Perth, not Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. This is a chance for Perth to be promoted across the world,” he said.

Raeburn said the city’s multicultural background played a huge part in winning hosting rights and encouraged locals to show their colours and support their teams.

“Part of the reason we came here, is because it’s such a multi-cultural state that everyone can get involved. There’s African nations, Asian nations, pan-Americans.

“WA loves AFL, but there’s a massive underlying football community. There’s the English population, a Serbian population, Brazilians, Chileans, it ticks all of the boxes.”

Tickets for both group games and knockout stages are currently available.

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