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Licence to thrill: Matildas semi on the big screen in Orange after approval granted

August 14, 2023

We asked our art intern Henry to imagine the big screen. He didn't get around to adding a crowd as time was short.

By Peter Holmes

The people of Orange are being encouraged to gather at South Court on Wednesday night to watch the Australian Matildas play England's Lionesses for a spot in the FIFA Women's World Cup final.

Orange City Council has arranged for a big screen to show the semi final game, which kicks off at 8pm.

When you're dealing with a behemoth such as FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), it's not as easy as just putting up a large screen, plugging in some speakers and pointing the remote control at Channel 7 HD.

FIFA acknowledges that the public viewing of matches "has become a firm fixture of the fan culture at FIFA’s events, providing fans who are unable to attend the match with a unique and exciting opportunity to experience all the action and atmosphere of one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles outside the stadium".

In April 2023 FIFA launched a new platform allowing applicants from around the world to apply for a licence to host a public viewing event in their countries for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.

The issue is not just between FIFA and people wanting to host fan events, as commercial rights holders are also in play, having paid vast sums to secure broadcast rights.

A FIFA licence is a conditional licence: "The exhibitor is responsible for obtaining, at their own cost and expense, any licences, permissions and/or consents required for a public viewing event from any third party, including any collective licensing authorities and local government or regulatory bodies."

It's potentially the stuff of migraines, and as the clock ticked towards 5pm, Orange City Council was awaiting approval from Optus, one of the rights holders. Shortly after 5pm the licence was granted.

On Thursday July 20 Australia beat the Republic of Ireland 1-0 at Stadium Australia.

On Thursday July 27 Nigeria gave Australia something to think about with a 3-2 victory in Brisbane.

Four days later Australia bounced back, racking up a 4-0 win over Canada in Melbourne.

A screenshot from the FIFA website.

Denmark faced Australia at Sydney's Stadium Australia on Monday August 7, with the Danes losing 2-0.

It was at this stage a lot of Australians began to wonder aloud whether it could actually happen.

Saturday night August 12 will long be remembered, as the Matildas drew level with France 0-0 after 120 minutes of normal play and extra time. A tense and thrilling penalty shootout was won by Australia 7-6.

England beat Colombia 2-1 on the same day, setting up the Wednesday night showdown.

According to one major betting agency the English team is considered favourites, with a draw considered the second most likely result, then an Australian victory.

The winner of the Australia - England fixture will play the winner of Tuesday's match between Spain and Sweden in the FIFA Women's World Cup final on Sunday August 20 at 8pm at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

The playoff for third place is on Saturday August 19 at 8pm at Brisbane Stadium.

The alcohol-free event on Wednesday at South Court will begin at 6.30pm with food trucks and entertainment by Megan Woods.

Tickets are free, but should be pre-booked here to avoid disappointment. If the venue is filled by those with pre-booked tickets then those without a ticket will not be able to enter.

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