Unified, Australia and Asia are "fairly unbeatable"

Australia this week became the 46th member of the Asian Football Confederation on New Year's Day. "Asia is the future,'' Frank Lowy, the chairman of Football Federation Australia, reemphasised in an interview at the recent Asian football awards in Kuala Lumpur, "for sports and for business."

Australian football officials are counting on regular games against 45 countries, including Japan, China and South Korea, to establish a foothold in a region of 3.7 billion people.

"Asia-Pacific is becoming an increasingly integrated trading and political block,'' explained Seamus O'Brien, president of World Sports Group, which paid more than $200 million for the television and marketing rights for Asian soccer until 2012. "Unified, Australia and Asia are a fairly unbeatable group on and off the field," he told Dan Baynes of Bloomberg.

See also: Australia's year of 'destiny' not just for World Cup (23 Dec)