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Auckland Mayor Chris Fletcher Speech Notes

Speech Notes:

Chris Fletcher, Mayor of Auckland City

Oceania Football Confederation Dinner in honour of Dr Joao Havelange

Friday 26 November 1999, 7pm

Northern Club, Auckland City

[To be checked against delivery]

Dr Joao Havelange - (former FIFA President)
FIFA Senior Vice President Mr Julieo Gron Dona
Oceania President Mr Charlie Dempsey
Chairman Local Organising Ctte - Mr Les Mills
FIFA Executive and Delegation
Clem Simich MP

Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening.

It is a privilege on behalf of the City to welcome you all to Auckland.

Indeed it is an honour for Auckland and New Zealand to host the under 17 tournament and have you join us for this prestigious event.

Tonight I am delighted to greet you all on this occasion in honour of Dr Joao Havelange.

While the under 17 tournament has brought the most senior FIFA representative and advocates for football, it has also brought the worlds attention to our city and country.

Soccer is a truly global game with a universal language of understanding.

As we have had teams from 16 countries in New Zealand to compete in these championships, people from over 150 countries have come together to watch the action.

It is a wonderful opportunity. Auckland City has been delighted to be the headquarters for the tournament.
Never before have we had such a large international audience view a sporting spectacle in New Zealand. Many watching will be forgiven for not knowing where New Zealand is, let alone Auckland.

As the worlds most popular game, I am especially pleased we have had the opportunity to host the under 17 championships.

Our youth are the future. As a city we believe our young are important to consider in every decision we make.

Our vision is to be the ‘First City of the Pacific’. Hosting this tournament represents fulfilment of that.

We want to grow as a city in a way that provides more opportunities for the future. In a way that protects the legacy and things we love about our city for the next generation.

We want to leave an inheritance they are pleased to receive.

In looking to the future, FIFA makes an outstanding contribution to youth development.

The players in this championship will be those who go on to continue thrilling the world with their skills.

This occasion provides the opportunity to acknowledge the leadership of FIFA for its foresight, and honour Dr Joao Havenlange for his role.

I would like to congratulate all those who make the game such a success now and for the future.

Participation and popularity continue to grow, as FIFA contributes to translating the grassroots support by millions into the world championships.

The under 17 tournament is a huge global event. All over the world people have been watching the emotion and skill which has been on display.

This has been reinforced to me by my son’s experience. He has been following the results during his travels in South East Asia, and is looking forward to watching the final live somewhere in Thailand.

I love soccer as a game. Not only is it a great sporting contest, but it also encourages a healthy attitude to life and character.

To me the positive attitude and emphasis on partnership and team are great qualities promoted by the game. Both on the field, and in the management and administration of the sport.

It has been wonderful to watch the character shown by the under 17’s teams. Especially the courage of our New Zealand team in winning their last game.

Without any chance of progressing further than their group, they were playing for pride. It was a great example of perseverance, against the odds they won 2-1.

We now look forward to what will be an excellent playoff and final tomorrow.

For our overseas visitors, and those of you from outside Auckland I hope you have a wonderful stay in our beautiful city.

It is an exceptionally exciting time in our history.

Thank you to the Oceania Confederation for tonight, and the ongoing role you have in this part of the world with football.

Special mention goes to Charlie Dempsey for this enthusiasm and commitment. Charlie you must be delighted to have a team from Oceania in the final.

Dr Havenlange it is a privilege to have you visit Auckland. Thank you for coming, please do come back.

Soccer is now on a roll in New Zealand. It is important to keep that momentum going with support and participation in this beautiful game.

On behalf of Auckland City I reiterate a very warm welcome to all our guests.

Thank you.

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