Queensland Government lures "the Celts" to Brisbane

Premier Anna Bligh has announced that the Queensland Government has secured football giants Celtic to play Brisbane Roar in a "friendly" match at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 12 July.

Ms Bligh said attracting the famous 'Celts' was not only a coup for Queensland football fans but for followers of the game throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

"Celtic was bombarded with offers from other countries, most notably Japan and the United States, to play pre-season games there," Premier Bligh said.

"But we made a strong case and to their credit the canny Scots decided that the most attractive proposal was to play at Suncorp Stadium.

"Given the enormous fan base Celtic has throughout the world, we are expecting their game against the Roar to be a sell out.

"This game will bring thousands of people to Brisbane and will not only boost the game's profile in Queensland but it will provide a much needed economic boost as well."

The Premier said the Celtic game would constitute the annual "Queensland Roars Against Racism" game.

"The 'world game' is surely the best vehicle to send the important message that racism will not be tolerated in Queensland," she said.

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell the club was delighted to accept the invitation to play in Australia.

"Celtic is fortunate to enjoy the support of millions of people worldwide and it will be a great privilege to ensure that many of our Australian supporters have the chance to see the team play in their own country," he said.

"As well as playing in the match we are hoping to stage a number of other supporter events and we are sure we will make this a trip to remember for Celtic and its fans."

Sport Minister Phil Reeves said it was another example of how the State Government's decision to build a world-class stadium was attracting world renowned sporting teams.

"If there is any doubt Queensland is home to world-class sporting stadiums, then this should put that to rest," he said.

"Brisbane benefits economically from such events and football fans get to see one of the world's greatest and most popular teams play in their own backyard.

"The thousands of jobs generated from such an event and the spin-offs for tourism and hospitality is enormous."

Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs Annastacia Palaszczuk said the "Queensland Roars Against Racism" game was a partnership between the State Government, through Multicultural Affairs Queensland and the Brisbane Roar Football Club.

"The world game has an amazing capacity to bridge racial and ethnic divides and our Brisbane Roar players are excellent advocates and good role models for ethnic diversity," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Brisbane Roar general manager Peter McLennan said the match would provide the Queensland public with a small taste of the fierce rivalry shared between Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers.

"Brisbane captain Craig Moore and Hyundai A-League Foreign Player of the Year Charlie Miller both had distinguished careers at Glasgow Rangers and know what it means to face Celtic," he said.

"To add even more spice to the contest, Craig will come face-to-face with his Socceroo team mate Scott McDonald, who has been in outstanding form in the Scottish Premier League.

"This is a contest that should excite every football fan in Queensland, not just those who follow the famous green and white hoops."

TransLink CEO Peter Strachan said TransLink, who are one of the sponsors of the game, would provide free public transport to and from the match for ticket holders.

"On average more than 90 per cent of patrons use public transport to travel to events at Suncorp Stadium and in July we want to see 50,000 football fans using TransLink's free public transport to get to and from the game," he said.

Suncorp Stadium General Manager, Paul Sergeant said tickets would go on sale through Ticketek to the general public on Tuesday 2 June (TBC).

Tickets are expected to range in price from $26 to $90 (TBC) and kick-off time is planned for 3pm, taking into account that children were returning to school the following day after their mid-year holiday break.

Premier's Office 07 32244500

Daniel Lato Brisbane Roar 0438 830 201