TALES FROM THE TERRACE
ROLLING INTO ANOTHER EPIC WORLD CUP ADVENTURE
FSAA member Aaron Camm recalls some of his fond memories following our national teams, his hopes for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and what it may mean in the future for supporter accessibility.
As I sat on the couch watching the Tillies play their ‘farewell’ match against France it was hard to fathom just how big this next month or so is going to be.
It feels like this journey started all the way back in France in 2019 after the heartbreak of that shootout against Norway. The disappointment of going out in the last 16, I walked out of the stadium with the nagging feeling that it was a golden opportunity missed. It was from that moment, the next four years of preparation begun.
The 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be my third World Cup after attending France 2019 and Qatar 2022. After the bitter disappointment of having my Fan ID cancelled for no reason in the lead up to Russia 2018 (thanks Putin!) I do not take any of these games for granted. From the amazing Journey of France where I had the opportunity to see some parts of the country that I wouldn’t have got to on a typical holiday to the eleven game football feast I experienced in Qatar.
“After the bitter disappointment of having my Fan ID cancelled for no reason in the lead up to Russia 2018”
This World Cup journey will follow a similar path to that I experienced in 2015 for the Asian Cup (hopefully same result). Flying from Perth into Sydney for the World Cup Opener and then on to Matilda’s matches in Brisbane and Melbourne before flying back home to Perth.
From then it’ll be a nervous wait before jumping back on a flight to Sydney for the Semi and the Final with my fingers crossed that the Matildas will still be featuring in the deep stages. Regardless on how our girls progress I wouldn’t miss those final two games in Sydney for the world as they are going to be the two biggest games of football to ever take place in this country.
One thing I’m eager to see throughout the 2023 World Cup is just what the organisers have put in place in terms of accessibility for all-ability football supporters. France 2019 was very much hit and miss. They had processes in place but when the paperwork arrived written in French, a more humorous obstacle presented. Parc De Princes was brilliant with a pitch-side view whereas Montpellier was not fit to host a World Cup game given the lack of facilities (Great result though).
For me Qatar 2022 was the gold standard when it came to supporter accessibility at a major tournament and I include my experience at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in that. The highlight of this invited down onto the pitch in front of the player benches for the pre-match ceremony and anthems.
“For me Qatar 2022 was the gold standard when it came to supporter accessibility at a major tournament”
One of the beautiful things about our game is the lifelong connections you make along the way and the memories that we all get to share together. Every single person who goes along to a game this tournament will have a similar story about the connections they build and the memories to last a lifetime and if that is the legacy of the World Cup then what a beautiful thing.
Aaron Camm is a FSAA Member from Perth, Western Australia.
The views expressed are those of the author and may not represent the view of Football Supporters Association (Inc)
FEATURE IMAGE: Supplied