500 kids join Melbourne Heart FC for FIFA Bid inspection

The Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch was a sea of colour as almost 500 children joined new Hyundai A-League club Melbourne Heart FC players to put on an exhibition of Optus small-sided football for the visiting FIFA inspection delegation this afternoon.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch was a sea of colour as almost 500 children joined new Hyundai A-League club Melbourne Heart FC players to put on an exhibition of Optus small-sided football for the visiting FIFA inspection delegation this afternoon.

Six Melbourne Heart FC players, Clint Bolton, Michael Beauchamp, Josip Skoko, Matt Thompson, Dean Heffernan and Michael Marrone, joined 483 children to fill the pitch for an hour and showcase Australia's junior football depth and enthusiasm.

A selection of the children joined the A-League stars for a pitch side meeting with the FIFA delegation.

"It was an awesome display with all of those girls and boys playing football and I think the FIFA guys were really impressed," said Socceroo and Melbourne Heart defender Michael Beauchamp.

"They asked us what the atmosphere was like at the MCG with a big crowd and a few questions like that and we told them it was one of the world's great stadiums.

"If we got a FIFA World Cup in Australia it would be sensational as Australians love sport and they would all get behind it."

Victorian Premier John Brumby welcomed the delegation and showed them a host city display ofMelbourne and Geelong and images of Geelong Stadium.

The delegation also visited the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre which could be used as a venue for a Preliminary or Final drawif Australia won the right to host a FIFA World Cup in 2022.

It also visited the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins to show off the quality of Australia's hotel industry.

The FIFA inspection team consists of six delegates and is led by Chilean Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls and includes CEO of 2010 South Africa Local Organising Committee Danny Jordaan, FIFA Head of Event Management Jurgen Muller, FIFA Marketing representative David Fowler, FIFA Competitions representative Julio Avellar and FIFA Media Officer Wolfgang Eichler.

Australia is the third stop on tour of the nine countries that are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup™ tournaments. Today is day two of a three-day visit.

At the end of the inspection tour, the delegation will submit an objective report to assist FIFA's 24 executive members select a host for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, which will be announced by FIFA on 2 December 2010 in Zurich.

Australia's bid also has complete bipartisan support.

Ten host cities have been selected as part of the Bid under Australia-s nationwide hosting proposal that will see FIFA World Cup™ matches in six states and territories. Three new stadiums will be built in Perth, Canberra and Blacktown in Western Sydney and nine others upgraded should the Bid be successful, providing a $2.8 billion infrastructure legacy for all sporting codes and generations to come.

All Australians can do their part to help bring the FIFA World Cup™ to Australia - add your name at australiabid.com.au