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Nov 13, 2012

ManU visit to boost Aussie football:Slater

Socceroos great Robbie Slater says a visit to Australia by Manchester United would be the next big step for a game on the move.

Slater said the injection of overseas stars Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey had put the local competition in its best ever shape, and a showpiece fixture for an A-League all-stars team against the Red Devils would further strengthen football's position in the Australian sporting landscape.

Football Federation Australia declined to comment on the speculated match, which would see Manchester United come to Sydney for the first time since 1999 for a pre-season game in July.

It has been reported the NSW Government are willing to contribute $3 million to the deal, which would bring the world's biggest sporting team back to Australia.

International club sides such as David Beckham's LA Galaxy, Everton, Middlesbrough and Celtic have visited Australia in recent years, but Slater said Manchester United would blow all of them out of the water for popularity and financial windfall.

"If they come it'd be fantastic and add to what's already a game on the move, there's no doubt about that," Slater told AAP.

"It's the biggest team in the world, the biggest name in the world in football terms.

"Everyone knows Manchester United the world over.

"It's a no-brainer for (the government) really, isn't it, you'd imagine Manchester United coming and everyone wanting to be involved.

"It would be a massive coup."

A July date would give the FFA a chance to host a major drawcard event in the middle of league and AFL season.

United last played down under against a joint Socceroos-Olyroos side in two fixtures in Melbourne and Sydney in 1999.

Slater said the circumstances are entirely different this time around with local football looking healthy and said a sold-out ANZ Stadium would be achieved.

"Whether it was during their (rugby league and AFL) season or not, Manchester United would fill stadiums," he said.

"It would show you how far the game has come (since 1999) ... we've made two World Cups and it's really in the Australian sporting psyche now."

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