Saturday's festival of football in Berlin's
Olympiastadion, featuring the German FA (DFB) women's and
men's cup finals, also incorporated the unveiling of the logo
for the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011. In part two of a
major DFB interview, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter lays out his
expectations for the first FIFA Women's World Cup on German
soil. Blatter's high hopes for the event are based not only on
the host country's renowned organisational ability, but also on
its inhabitants' tremendous passion for football.
The FIFA President also surveys potential further developments in women's football, and assesses changes in the commercial landscape for the 2011 event. He calls on the game to nurture a positive star culture around the world's best female players, looks forward to a certain flair at Germany 2011, and underlines the significance of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2010.
Joseph S. Blatter, the Official Emblem of the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 was unveiled in between the German women's and men's cup finals on Saturday. The Olympiastadion crowd gave the logo a warm reception, but what do you think of it?
I find the Emblem enormously pleasing. I'm absolutely sure Arena Deutschland will provide an impressive stage for women's football at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011. And I think it was a fabulous idea to present the visual trademark of the next Women's World Cup at the venue where the fantastic summer fairytale of 2006 came to its conclusion with the Final between France and Italy.
What are you expecting in sporting terms from Germany 2011?
I have great hopes and high expectations for the first Women's World Cup in Germany, and I'm absolutely convinced they'll be completely fulfilled. Germany is famous for competent and thorough organisation, and we all know how passionate Germans can be about the game.
Is that true of the women's game?
It's especially true of the women's game. Just look at the way the German women's team was received in Frankfurt after beating Brazil in the World Cup final in Shanghai. There wouldn't have been a more passionate reception even if the men had returned home as world champions. A strong recognition of the women's game is a distinguishing feature of German football. The FIFA executive committee saw this as a decisive factor when awarding the 2011 finals to a nation where women's football is firmly established. By asking Germany to stage the tournament, you know it will be done right.
How do you see women's football developing after the finals?
German women's football has already reached remarkable dimensions, with more than a million registered female players. The World Cup in 2011 will be another boost on top of that, but not only in Germany. This World Cup will have an impact in the whole of Europe and around the world. The important thing is an organised league in every country, something which needs to grow organically around the world. In certain countries, 2011 will be the decisive spark and women's football will spread around the planet like fireworks at New Year. As I once said, the future of football is feminine. An important factor is for matches at the World Cup to be broadcast around the globe, so we need support from the TV companies. That's why our TV contracts for 2011 are components of the overall TV packages for the 2014 men's World Cup in Brazil. So in this respect, we've charted a course towards greater worldwide popularity for the women's game.
The status of a sport is partly defined by its major personalities, with TV by far the most important medium in bringing them to a wider public. Who do you regard as the role models in women's football?
Take Steffi Jones for example, selected by the DFB to be the OC President for the World Cup 2011. I know she's no longer playing, and I don't know if the current stars of the German women's team such as Birgit Prinz will still be going in 2011. But I'm sure there'll be new players coming through who will become idols for younger players, in Germany, in the USA, in Scandinavia and elsewhere. There's obviously Brazil too, where Marta and Christiane are role models for many girls. Up to now, women's football hasn't really revolved around its stars, but the women's game does need more of a positive star culture as the most effective way to boost its status. The media, but also the women themselves, have a part to play here.
Five years after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the DFB returns as organiser and host nation in 2011...
Although with an eye on the further development of the women's game, FIFA has acted in favour of the next and all subsequent host nations. Up until the last FIFA Women's World Cup, FIFA partnered with 15 sponsors, holding exclusive rights effectively covering the entire product spectrum. Now and in the future, we have only six official partners, which means it will be much easier for the DFB and future host associations to acquire their own sponsors. Commercial giants, the majority of whom have focused on men's football, will now invest more in the women's game.
What will the atmosphere be like in 2011?
It should be even more of a fairytale, because women will have the starring roles. The stadiums available to the German OC will provide a wonderful ambience. The Germans might want to talk to the Canadians, who sold 1.1 million tickets for the junior World Cup even before the tournament started. Experience says that many ticket purchasers will also be members of the association. I'm sure the DFB will come up with good ideas for getting tickets into the public's hands. Then it's up to the players to make the World Cup attractive and whip up a great atmosphere by playing the way they do best, with a combination of elegance, subtlety and creativity - and not as much tackling as in the men's game.
Do you regard the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010 in Germany as a test of the organisation, or more of an appetiser?
We don't need an organisational dry run in Germany. There's no need for it there. Appetiser is the right word. That's why FIFA agreed with the DFB to hold the U-20 World Cup in Germany a year before, as a way of stoking anticipation for the World Cup 2011. The U-20 national teams who make the finals will undoubtedly have the quality to appeal to a broader public.
As President of the DFB Organising Committee, Steffi Jones is the public face of the World Cup 2011. What are your views on that?
She's taken the role Franz Beckenbauer had in 2006. I believe she'll be even more successful in this respect, because she's younger and prettier ( laughs). I'm not sure Franz will like that, but that's the way it is.