Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Photo:  John Boulous making the official announcement today [PlessPix]

Melbourne Victory will meet Gold Coast United at Aurora Stadium in Launceston in a Round 17 A-League match at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 1 February, 2012.

The meeting marks the first genuine competitive A-League match to be played in Tasmania following the annual pre-season cup matches, which have recently been downgraded to friendlies, that have been played at Aurora since 2006.

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Photo:  FFT CEO JOhn Boulous at today's media conference [PlessPix]

Tasmanian fans have, since 2006, seen Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar, so Gold Coast United represents another refreshing change.

And, the fact that points will be at stake, adds to the appeal of the fixture.

The game will be played during the school holidays, which may help to counter the disadvantages posed by a mid-week, evening fixture that will be telecast on pay TV.

If Harry Kewell plays for Melbourne Victory in this game, that will increase its appeal considerably, and not just for committed football fans.  Kewell has the pulling power to attract more than just football fans to the game.

 Credit must go to the Launceston City Council for bidding for the fixture.

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Photo:  Aurora Stadium in Launceston [PlessPix]

“This is a tremendous boost for football in Tasmania, with the match providing an exciting opportunity to engage both our very large participation base and sports fans,” said an excited Football Federation Tasmania CEO, John Boulous, as a media conference today at Forestry Tasmania headquarters.

“February is a time when football clubs are commencing registration and the enthusiasm created from the Hyundai A-League match provides the perfect springboard for recruitment campaigns and community football activities to continue to grow participation.

“The match provides the first opportunity for football and sports fans to see Harry Kewell, who is rightly acclaimed as Australia’s most gifted footballer, with a celebrated record of achievement, in Tasmania.”

This game is an example of an innovation this season in the A-League of playing competition matches in non-traditional A-League markets.

These ‘community’ matches provide an opportunity for new markets to leverage from the national exposure created by having Australia’s most popular team sport and premier football competition in their region.

The Launceston City Council has shown itself to be a strong supporter of football by seizing this opportunity to bring A-League football to Tasmania.  FFA has granted a provisional three-year licence for Hyundai A-League community matches to be played at Aurora Stadium.

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Photo:  John Boulous is delighted at the success of Launceston City Council's bid [PlessPix]

The Mayor of Launceston Albert van Zetten was excited with the arrangement.

“We are thrilled to have made this arrangement with the FFA to bring top flight football to Tasmania at Aurora Stadium,” van Zetten said.

“We will pull out all stops to ensure this event is a success at our world-class venue”.

Aurora Stadium Manager Robert Groenewegen said:  “Having an A-League roster game is the culmination of the strong relationships we have built over the last five years in bringing first-class football to Tasmania.

“We would like to thank FFA, FFT, the Tasmanian Government and Melbourne Victory for their support and look forward to growing this event over the next three years”.

FFT will welcome both teams to Tasmania, with the Melbourne Victory having built up a long association with Tasmania over many years through the playing of pre-season fixtures.

These fixtures have been very well supported and expectations are high that fans will turn up en masse to see the first regular season Hyundai A-league fixture.

Melbourne Victory FC, Managing Director, Richard Wilson said:  “Melbourne Victory welcomes the initiative to play our Hyundai A-League Community Round in Launceston this year.

“We have now played six pre-season games in Tasmania and couldn’t be more pleased with the interest that we’ve received from local fans.

“This support has also been apparent when we’ve been involved in community activities with local youth, and importantly, it appears interest in football only continues to heighten.

“We see our commitment to Tasmania strengthening and are looking forward to playing Gold Coast United on February 1”.

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Photo:  Organisers are hopeful of attracting 10,000 to the A-League match [PlessPix]

John Boulous added:  “FFT has commenced working with FFA, the Tasmanian Government and local councils to increase the opportunities for matches to be played in Tasmania.

“The arrangement to bring a number of matches to Tasmania is the preferred model to ensure the local game continues to grow.

“The more exposure we have to top-class football in Tasmania, the more we will provide our young talented players with the aspiration and drive to play at the highest level they can.

“The continued expansion of our National Training Centre, State and Talented Player development programs, combined with the progression towards a State League competition in 2013, will give our local players maximum opportunity to develop and be identified for the next level.”

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Photo:  The game will be for competition points, unlike the Victory versus Roar game earlier this month [PlessPix]