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FIFA inspectors give Auckland thumbs up

FIFA inspectors give Auckland thumbs up

FIFA’s new U-20 World Cup Trophy will travel through Auckland in May

Some of the most senior officials from football’s world governing body, FIFA, have given Auckland a huge thumbs up as it prepares to host FIFA’s second largest global tournament – the U-20 World Cup in 2015.

FIFA Inspectors were in Auckland today to inspect the City’s host stadium North Harbour 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 iconic FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy, a brand new trophy for this tournament, had now been entrusted to the LOC and would be taken on a nationwide tour of New Zealand in May.

The trophy will be in Auckland for three days, arriving from Whangarei on 7 May and working its way around the Auckland region before heading to Hamilton.

FIFA U-20 New Zealand 2015 CEO, Dave Beeche said: “Auckland has a fantastic reputation of hosting highly successful world sporting events so we know that this great city will turn it on again for FIFA’s second biggest tournament when it hits town on 30 May 2015.

“We are also delighted that Auckland football and sports fans will be among the first in the world to see the new FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy, which will be housed in the city until the tournament begins next year,” Beeche added.

One of the FIFA officials inspecting the North Harbour Stadium was the Senior Competitions Manager Rhiannon Martin, who has worked for FIFA for almost 17 years.

She said: “We know how successful FIFA tournaments have been at North Harbour stadium and we’re pleased to see that the venue will be improved even further by the time the FIFA U-20 World Cup arrives next year. We feel confident that this stadium will be a fantastic arena to showcase the very best young talent that our sport has to offer.”

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Brett O’Riley was on hand to welcome the FIFA delegation and said that Auckland looks forward to welcoming the world’s best young football stars for this iconic sporting event.

“As New Zealand’s largest city and an experienced host of major sporting events, Auckland is extremely well positioned to deliver a world class event and provide memorable experiences for all participants. Auckland is ready to share its very best with the world – its hospitality, its friendliness, its professionalism and its beauty,” he says.

Auckland is a renowned major events destination, being named in the top three sporting cities in the world for the second year in a row at the 2013 International Sports Event Management (ISEM) Awards.

Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremony, four pool matches, a quarter and semi-final, the bronze medal playoff and the final.

The FIFA Inspection Tour of New Zealand will cover all seven Host Cities from Whangarei to Dunedin and will conclude with a press conference at Auckland’s Sky City on Friday 14 March.

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.

With the world coming to New Zealand, fans are encouraged to register for ticket alerts on www.fifa.com/NZ2015 to make sure they don’t miss out on the best seats, with tickets going on sale next month.

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