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Football glitz and glamour to hit Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE – Football glitz and glamour to hit Wellington

Wellington has been selected to host the Official Draw for the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup on June 1 at New Zealand's renowned national museum Te Papa. The glittering event is expected to attract high profile attendees from some of FIFA's 208 Member Associations who will have attended the 58th FIFA Congress held in Sydney on 29 and 30 May.

The Official Draw is the most highly anticipated pre-competition event for the 16 teams that have earned a berth at this year’s tournament kicking off on 28 October in Auckland as well as for fans of the beautiful game worldwide. It sets the stage for the competition by determining the opponents that each team will face during the group stage as well as identifying the venue and date for each match. The New Zealand capital has been identified as the ideal site to host international and local celebrities, delegations from FIFA and the 16 qualified teams following a FIFA inspection last February.

"In New Zealand, we were in the fortunate position of having many great options to choose from in relation to selecting the host city for the draw" said FIFA Head of Women's Competitions Tatjana Haenni. "However in Wellington, we have a spectacularly beautiful city which is also the centre of government and a real stronghold for football. Te Papa itself is also a splendid iconic national facility which will showcase New Zealand's cultural heritage."

Chris Simpson, CEO of the Local Organising Committee for the tournament to be held 28 October to 16 November 2008 added, "The decision to host it in our country's capital reflects Wellington's proven ability to really support events in their city. It also means that our four host cities will share honours for prestigious events centered around this FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, with Auckland hosting the Opening Ceremony and Final, and Hamilton and Christchurch staging quarter and semi-finals respectively."

The draw itself will run on the same template as for any other of FIFA's World Cup events for youth, men and women. As host, New Zealand is automatically qualified as Oceania's representative at the tournament, with the remaining spots being filled by teams from each of FIFA's five other confederations (Asia/AFC, Africa/CAF, Europe/UEFA, North, Central American and Caribbean/CONCACAF and South America/CONMEBOL) Asia and South America are the only regions to date to have completed the qualification process that will involve a total of over 100 countries. As a result, football powerhouses Brazil will be accompanied by Paraguay, Columbia, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan to New Zealand. Africa with two slots and Europe with four berths are the last to finish their final qualifications round in mid April with France already secured one of the four European tickets to New Zealand.

"We are very excited about welcoming teams and dignitaries from all corners of the world," said Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast. "Wellington knows how to put on a great show and these people will certainly experience the best of our unique Kiwi culture and hospitality. We will make sure that everyone goes home to their countries wanting desperately to come back later in the year to see one of the world's most beautiful countries and a top class event."

The Draw Ceremony is the first official associated event of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and will be presided over by the tournament's Honorary President, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. As such, combined with high profile delegates in attendance from all over the world and broadcasting rights for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup being available to over 150 territories, the draw ceremony is expected to generate good international and domestic exposure for Wellington and New Zealand.

ENDS

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