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FIFA inspectors give Whangarei thumbs up

FIFA inspectors give Whangarei thumbs up.

FIFA’s iconic U-20 World Cup Trophy will travel through Northland in May.

Some of the most senior officials from football’s world governing body, FIFA, have given Whangarei 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 Whangarei 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 iconic FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy would be taken on a nationwide tour of New Zealand, starting in Northland on 5 May 2014.

The trophy will be in Northland for three days, arriving in Waitangi on 5 May and working its way through Kaitaia, Kaikohe and Kerikeri before spending a day in Whangarei.

FIFA U-20 New Zealand 2015 CEO, Dave Beeche said: “Whangarei has such a passion and enthusiasm for this tournament so we’re delighted to be working with the city to bring the biggest game in the world to town in 2015. Given the level of enthusiasm for the tournament in Whangarei we are also urging football and sports fans to get in early to purchase tickets when they go on sale next month, as we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to see the world’s greatest young players in action.”

One of the FIFA officials inspecting the Northland Events Centre was the Senior Competitions Manager Rhiannon Martin, who has worked for FIFA for almost 17 years.

She said: “We’ve been hugely impressed with this city. The passion and support for this tournament is so evident everywhere you go and on that basis we feel very confident that Whangarei will deliver a great tournament for FIFA in 2015.”

Whangarei Mayor, Sheryl Mai was on hand to welcome the FIFA delegation and reiterated the pride which the city and the region felt in being awarded the honour of hosting the greatest young players in world football.

Mayor Mai said: “FIFA U-20 World Cup promises to be the sporting highlight of next year, if not this decade. Whangarei’s football players and spectators of all ages and abilities are very excited about the event, 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 District.”

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 to make sure they don’t miss out on the best seats, with tickets going on sale next month.

Notes to Editors

About the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015

The FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 is the largest football tournament ever staged in New Zealand. It will take place over three 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.

About the FIFA U-20 World Cup

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 two 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.

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