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By ESPN Staff

Australia step up bid to host 2015 Asian Cup

Australia's bid to host the 2015 Asian Cup will come under increased scrutiny this week with an Asian Football Confederation delegation visiting key sites.

The group from Asia's governing body will visit stadiums, training sites and hotels at various locations during the week long inspection, while they will also attend an A-League game.

Australia, who are also bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup finals, were prevented from bidding to host the 2011 Asian Cup with the Asian Football Confederation insisting the tournament must take place in West Asia with Qatar eventually being named as hosts.

"We welcome the AFC Asian Cup bid delegation to Australia,'' said Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley.

"This is our opportunity to show the bid delegation what we have to offer as a sporting nation and further position Australia as a potential host for significant football tournaments.

"The inspection provides a chance for delegates to visit potential host cities, prior to the submission of our bid book next February.''

Australia only joined the Asian confederation in 2006 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2007 Asian Cup before losing to Japan on penalties.

The domestic A-League is also flourishing in just its fifth season and this year expanded from eight to 10 teams with an additional two franchises believed to be under consideration.

Australia have also qualified for a second consecutive World Cup finals next year in South Africa and recently moved up to 14th place in the FIFA rankings.

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