Asian Cup covered benches for Hyundai A-League

Hyundai A-League clubs will take possession of high-tech covered team benches specially designed for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 after the tournament ends.

The covered benches were unveiled in Brisbane on Tuesday before Socceroos star and Asian Cup ambassador Matt McKay.

They will be one of the most visible legacies of the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, which kicks off in one month on January 9.

The 24-seat team benches, manufactured by a Queensland company, will be used for the first time at the Asian Cup from January 9-31 in the five host cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

After the tournament ends, Football Federation Australia will adapt them to become 12-seat benches for use by the A-League clubs. There will also be four-seat referees’ benches.

The aluminium benches were manufactured by the Bundaberg-based company Interseat. They are covered from the elements, transparent and portable. The seats recline and include foam head protectors.

“This is a stand-out legacy, one of the many benefits that will flow from holding the Asian Cup in Australia for the first time,” said Local Organising Committee CEO Michael Brown.

“They are high-quality, tangible assets that will help the game in Australia long after the Asian Cup is over.

“There have also been many upgrades to venues around the country, improved lighting, the resurfacing of pitches in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle, the Asian Cup education resource which is helping more than 50,000 primary school students, and the expanded fan base we will hand on to FFA.”

The AFC Asian Cup is Asia’s biggest football competition and was established in 1956.

The 16 nations to qualify for AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 are Australia as hosts, defending champions Japan, Korea Republic and 2012 AFC Challenge Cup winners DPR Korea, along with Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Palestine.

The 16 finalists will take part in a 23-day festival of football in five cities which the Socceroos will kick off against Kuwait on January 9, 2015, in Melbourne, with the final set for Sydney’s Stadium Australia on January 31, 2015.

The tournament is being financially supported by the Australian Government and the NSW, Victorian, Queensland and ACT Governments.

Fox Sports will broadcast all 32 matches of AFC Asian Cup live in HD throughout Australia. ABC is the official AFC Asian Cup free-to-air broadcaster.