It’s been a controversial 10 days for the Matildas, but captain Sam Kerr’s team has received some great news ahead of their return home at the end of October.
The Matildas will face Brazil in front of more than 20,000 fans later this month after venue capacity at Sydney’s CommBank Stadium increased to 75 percent, putting the Australians on target to break a record of attendance.
A day after Socceroos coach Graham Arnold called on the New South Wales government to unleash the ‘twelfth man’ of the national team in their own crucial World Cup tie against Saudi Arabia, Football Australia confirmed the huge increase in numbers.
An original allocation of 5,000 tickets for the games on Saturday 23 and Tuesday 26 October has been sold out, and now a maximum of 22,500 fans will be able to see Captain Sam Kerr’s team in action.
The Matildas have been embroiled in a controversy for the past week after historic accusations of bullying and a “toxic culture” they were broadcast by former star Lisa De Vanna, and endorsed by other former players.
It has prompted an investigation by Sports Integrity Australia, which has the full support of FA.
The current Matildas collectively voiced their response to the allegations earlier this week, sparking a mixed response.
On Wednesday, Football Australia and the players union criticized social media trolls for targeting ‘disturbing’ and ‘abhorrent’ abuse towards Matildas players.
But the huge increase in tickets available for their homecoming match, having stormed the bronze model match at the Tokyo Olympics most recently, is a welcome boost for the team.
“Today … is another groundbreaking announcement for Australian football following the approval by the New South Wales government of our submission to host these matches in Sydney within the mandatory 14-day quarantine period,” said the executive director of Football Australia, James Johnson.
“This now means that more New South Wales fans will be able to see their favorite women’s national team … and it also paves the way for Sydney to host the crucial AFC Asian Qualifier at the home of the Socceroos.”
The Matildas set their attendance record at the same venue in November 2019, when they beat Chile 2-1 in a friendly, in front of 20,029 fans.
The Socceroos will also host Saudi Arabia in Sydney next month, and now they could get the crowd Arnold was looking for.