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The World Is Coming: One Year to Go

The World Is Coming: One Year to Go

This Friday marks the one year countdown to the most spectacular football event New Zealand has ever seen.

At 1pm on May 30 next year, the whistle will blow to kick off the first match for FIFA’s second largest male football event, the FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held across the country. However, this Friday 30 May, fans in Auckland and Wellington will get a sneak taste of what that moment will feel like.

Major events at Auckland’s Aotea Square and Wellington’s Civic Square will mark the occasion, capped off in the evening with a friendly international match between the All Whites and South Africa at Mt Smart Stadium.

“When organising a global event of this magnitude, a year is nothing. It will go by in a flash and with FIFA World Cup about to kick-off in Brazil, we are excited about the football fever that is kicking in across the country,” said Dave Beeche, CEO of FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

In Auckland the FIFA U-20 Local Organising Committee and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) have put together a football festival to take over Aotea Square on Friday. From noon, the square will be alive with football fanfare – fantastic freestylers, an inflatable footy pitch, a Kick Wall, photo boards, representative futsal stars, music and colour from groups representing top football nations from around the globe plus loads more.

The highlight of the occasion will be a celebrity football match embracing official FIFA pre-match ceremony and kicking off at 1pm, with a celebrity guest referee. Proudly on display will sit the FIFA U-20 World Cup Winner’s Trophy for people to get their photo with.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be one of Auckland’s biggest major events of 2015 and it’s important to get people thinking about it now.

“This celebration is a golden opportunity to connect with Aucklanders and generate some excitement around next year’s tournament.”

At Wellington’s Civic Square, New Zealand’s first full-size portable futsal pitch will be in place for a Futsal Festival running from today until Sunday 1 June with highlights including a match on Thursday 29 May (politicians v embassy ambassadors from top footballing nations) and on Friday 30 May, a celebrity game featuring a collection of top futsal players, local celebrities and football stars.
With the Futsal Festival running all week, it’s a great opportunity for the local community to head to Civic Square and have a go on the pitch.

“This tournament is about fun, skill, colour and a celebration of the Beautiful Game. That is what we want these One Year to Go events to be all about – to give people a small taste of what will soon be here on their doorstep in a year’s time,” said Beeche.

The countdown will be marked in Whangarei as well with leaders from local businesses who are backing the tournament in their region – ditching their suits and pulling on some footy gear to have an inter-business competition.


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