All White's goalkeeper Mark Paston with Mayor Celia Wade-Brown
FIFA Inspectors were in Wellington today to inspect the City’s host stadium and various training venues for this landmark event and agreed that the venue was in great shape to showcase the world’s biggest game.
During the inspection tour, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 also announced that the brand new FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy would be taken on a nationwide tour of New Zealand, travelling through to the Wellington region on 16 and 17 May.
The trophy will work its way through the Manawatu, Horowhenua and Kapiti Coast regions on Friday 16 May and arrive in the Capital on Saturday 17 May, where it will tour local football grounds and especially junior football venues. After making its way down the South Island, the World Cup will travel back through Wellington to the Hutt Valley on Sunday 25 May, before heading to Masterton that afternoon.
FIFA U-20 New Zealand 2015 CEO, Dave Beeche said: “Wellington’s experience with major events and its enthusiasm for this tournament makes it a privilege for us to work alongside the Capital city to bring the biggest game in the world to town in 2015.”
“This stadium has hosted many great FIFA matches already so we know that there will be a huge amount of interest when this tournament comes to town in May and June next year. For this reason, we are urging fans to get in early to purchase tickets when they go on sale next month, as we want to ensure that everyone gets a chance to see the world’s greatest young players in action.”
The Head of the FIFA delegation in New Zealand, Marion Mayer-Vorfelder, who manages the FIFA Olympic Football tournament, Football Club World Cup and U-20 World Cup was impressed with the Wellington Regional Stadium after today’s tour.
She said: “We know that this stadium has hosted some memorable FIFA matches in the past and it is clearly a great arena to showcase the best young talent that our sport has to offer. After inspecting the venue again today we are even more confident that Wellington and this stadium will deliver a great tournament for FIFA in 2015.”
Wellington City values highly its events across the cultural and sporting sectors and considers the FIFA U-20 World Cup an ideal platform to attract visitors, generate economic benefits and confirm its status as the home of Football in New Zealand.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomed the FIFA delegation, reiterating the city and region’s excitement in hosting the world’s greatest young players.
Mayor Wade-Brown said: “The FIFA U-20 World Cup will be a huge sporting highlight for 2015, attracting thousands of fans to the Capital and showcasing our great stadium, hospitality and our love of the Beautiful Game to the world. The Wellington region’s football players and spectators of all ages are already very excited about the U-20 World Cup, and that excitement is spreading into the wider community.
“We will be proud to host FIFA players, supporters and officials here, in the outstanding natural beauty of our compact and cosmopolitan Capital.”
The FIFA Inspection Tour of New Zealand has covered all seven Host Cities from Whangarei to Wellington and down to Dunedin, it will conclude with a press conference at Auckland’s Sky City on Friday 14 March.
Wellington Regional Stadium will host nine matches, including four double-headers and a quarter-final in the knock out stages.
Players like Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas and Luis Figo have all starred at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in years gone by and many of those participating in the 2015 tournament will have already established their reputations in the top leagues in Europe.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup is the world championship of football for male players under the age of 20 and is organised by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The Championship has been awarded every 2 years since the first tournament in 1977 held in Tunisia.
In the 19 tournaments held, only nine nations have won the title. Argentina is the most successful team with six titles, followed by Brazil with five titles and Portugal with two titles.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 is the largest football tournament ever staged in New Zealand. It will take place over 3 weeks from 30 May 2015 to 20 June 2015 with 24 countries participating. A total of 52 matches will be played in seven host cities – Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. An audience of over 500,000 is expected to attend the event.
With the world coming to New Zealand, fans are encouraged to register for ticket alerts on the FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand website to make sure they don’t miss out on the best seats, with tickets going on sale next month.