The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014 is all set for kick-off, after FIFA’s Organising Committee convened in San Jose on Friday for an official meeting and a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel ahead of Saturday's opening game.
The President of the tournament's Local Organising Committee (LOC), Eduardo Li, was joined at the media gathering by the Deputy Chairwoman of FIFA’s Organising Committee, Sonia Bien-Aime, the FIFA Head of Women’s Competitions, Tatjana Haenni, Costa Rica Sports Minister William Corrales and LOC Executive Director Federico Rojas. Here, FIFA.com picks out some of their thoughts on the eve of the tournament’s first match.
President of the Costa Rican FA (Fedefútbol) and the LOC
On the expectation surrounding the competition
We’re sure the championship will be a big success. I can say that we’ve covered new ground and we’ll prove that on Saturday with a full stadium [for the opening game]. We have already set a new attendance record for an opening game at a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, with 35,000 people. That’s 35,000 people who believed in us, in women’s football and in our players, of whom we are proud. We know they won’t let anybody down.
On ticket sales between now and the end of the tournament
Let’s hope the final is also a sell-out. We set ourselves a target of selling 100,000 tickets and before the start of the competition we have already reached 45,000. Sales are going well. The Liberia stadium will almost always be full, while tickets are also selling at a good rate for the games in Alajuela. The people of Costa Rica understand the significance of this World Cup and are showing their support. We are grateful for that.
Deputy Chairwoman of FIFA’s Organising Committee
On the impact of the tournament in the host nation
It’s an extraordinary pleasure to be back in Costa Rica, a country where football has a great significance for the people. Seeing all the tickets sold for the opening game is spectacular and a great achievement by Eduardo Li, the LOC and the people themselves. It’s something remarkable for the tournament as a whole but also for the development of women’s football. Ever since work started in Costa Rica, there has been a noticeable improvement in infrastructure and administrative tasks, as well as an increase in the number of girls playing football. I’m sure Costa Rica 2014 will open many doors for lots of girls who are keen on getting into playing football.
FIFA’s Head of Women’s Competitions
On the legacy of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
FIFA’s mission is not only to organise World Cups, but to host them in different parts of the world – and not just in places where things are straightforward. FIFA wants these tournaments to have an impact on society, and Costa Rica is responding well. Our hope is that the legacy remains and that there’s more than just the emotion of the championship itself and nothing else. Women’s football must have further gains from this experience.
Costa Rica’s Sports Minister
On the efforts made in the organisation of the tournament
Here in Costa Rica we have the ability to organise these kind of events, but commitment is needed to make them a success - and we had that from our President, Laura Chinchilla. That support needed to be financial and not just verbal or moral – and the government gave their full backing with a big investment. The commitment has led to a real success, and that success belongs to everybody: to the government, the Costa Rican Football Federation, FIFA, to the community and also to the press. You [the media] have helped us reach people’s homes and excite the fans. That’s no coincidence, but a result of the combined efforts on behalf of everyone.