Abuja – The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has announced seven host cities for the FIFA U-20 World Cup billed for New Zealand from May 30 to June 21.
A statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the association’s Website said the announcement was made on Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand in the presence of John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
“The other people present at the announcement were Dave Beeche, CEO of the Local Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, and Frank van Hattum, President of Zealand Football Inc.
“And the host cities and stadia named are: Auckland (North Harbour Stadium), Christchurch (Christchurch Stadium) and Dunedin (Otago Stadium).
“The other cities and stadia are Hamilton (Waikato Stadium), New Plymouth (Stadium Taranaki), Wellington (Wellington Regional Stadium) and Whangarei (Northland Event Centre),’’ the statement said.
The statement quoted FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, as saying “bringing the FIFA U-20 World Cup to New Zealand will enhance the image and popularity of the beautiful game in the country’’.
“New Zealand hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1999 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008 and enjoys a proud history of successfully hosting FIFA events.
“The host cities play an essential role in delivering a FIFA competition and football fans in cities across the whole country will have the chance to become a part of it,’’ Blatter said.
The statement said Beeche was full of praises for all the cities that were involved in the bidding process.
“To have seven stunning venues locked in nearly two years out from the first match, gives us a great planning time-frame and we will use all of it to ensure that a stand-out event is delivered.
“This tournament has a huge global following and that is the opportunity we have with this event.
“It will deliver exposure for New Zealand and host regions both directly during the tournament and via a massive international television audience,’’ Beeche said.
He said, “with the world’s best footballing talent on display and stadiums full of colour, noise and atmosphere, it will be a new experience for New Zealand that everyone will want to be a part of.’’
The 19th edition of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Turkey from June 21 to July 13. (NAN)