An ancient, enchanting city will host a modern, mesmerising tournament in September, and anticipation for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna 2011 intensified today with the launch of its Official Emblem and Official Match Ball.
Dignitaries from sport and politics were present at the ceremony, which FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke got underway via video message. “Beach soccer has developed greatly in recent years,” he told an eager audience in the north-eastern Italian city. “FIFA is looking forward to holding the next World Cup in Ravenna. We know we can count on the experience of the Italian FA (FIGC) and the support of the city.”
The latter point was emphasised by Pericle Stoppa, a councillor for sport in the Ravenna municipality: “The World Cup is a big opportunity for Ravenna to show itself to the world, and to welcome many teams and supporters.”
Joan Cuscó, a member of the FIFA Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee, then expressed his optimism that the competition will prove a major hit. “The World Cup is a very big tournament,” he said. “It’s a FIFA event and part of the whole, big football package.
“We are receiving a lot of support from the Italian FA, which has vast experience. Ravenna will show its cultural heritage and charming characteristics, and we then just need to attract big crowds to make the event an exceptional success.”
Cuscó’s comments were echoed by FIGC vice-president Carlo Tavecchio: It’s a great opportunity. FIFA and the Italian FA are good, experienced partners, and Ravenna has all the characteristics to emulate the former hosts of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. This attractive sport will be successful in this city and region.”
The ceremony was capped off with the Official Match Ball being presented to the Major of Ravenna, Fabrizio Mateucci. He said: “I’m happy to welcome such a big event to Ravenna. It’s a big chance to promote our city.”
Ravenna 2011 will run from 1 to 11 September.