Ballina: World Cup hub potential

AN INTERNATIONAL soccer team would base itself in Ballina if Australia wins its bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

Yesterday the Ramada Hotel announced that the Ramada and Ballina were chosen to potentially host a team. Only ‘a few’ regional centres have been selected.

Under the agreement, one or more teams would stay at the Ramada for the duration of the World Cup, and train at soccer fields in the Ballina Shire.

The players would fly to Sydney for their matches.

Ramada sales and marketing manager, Jordan Stotter said it was a ‘huge coup’ for Ballina.

“We have been working behind the scenes on this project for the past six months and recently an official from the Sydney Soccer World Cup Committee inspected the Ramada and Ballina for its suitability,” he said.

“The Ramada general manager, Karen Whiteford, was the manager for the Sydney Olympics’ media village in 2000, which had over 4000 guests per night, so she is used to managing guests participating in major sporting events.”

Ms Whiteford said hosting a World Cup soccer team would be a great opportunity for Ballina.

“It’s exciting because it means they (FIFA) were obviously very impressed,” she said.

“It would also bring a lot of money into our economy.

“It’s not just the players who would be staying here – it’s staff, trainers and other people associated with the team, as well as their followers.

“This would really put Ballina on the map.”

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