Pachuca provided the venue for a meeting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 Organising Committee on Saturday. Taking part in the press conference that followed were FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Deputy Chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Junji Ogura, and LOC Director Yon de Luisa. FIFA.com rounds up what they had to say.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
On the organisation of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011
I would like to congratulate the Mexican Football Association and the LOC for organising this World Cup so well. It has been a great event attracting large numbers of spectators, and will end on a high note with a final between Mexico and Uruguay and a classic meeting between Brazil and Germany in the match for the bronze medal. I think we’re going to see a great Mexican day, a day full of football.
On who will win the final
Football will be the winner! You can’t make predictions in sport, but I think we’re going to see two games that will be very interesting in both tactical and technical terms.
On the significance of the success of the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the Mexican Football Federation
Bearing in mind the other problems the Mexican FA have had, the successful organisation of this World Cup is a very positive outcome. The whole world is talking about the U-17 World Cup and about the record we’re going to create with one million spectators. Those other problems are still there, but the Mexican FA has shown that the instruments it has in place for addressing them do work, both in the case of the footballers who misbehaved in Ecuador and in the food contamination case.
On the decision by the Mexican FA’s Disciplinary Committee to clear national team players of any wrongdoing in the food contamination case
FIFA is totally in agreement with that decision. We have also been in touch with WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, to close the case as soon as we receive the official documents from the Mexican FA through FIFA’s General Secrerariat.
On the possibilities of Mexico organising another FIFA World Cup competition
I have spoken to President Compean (Mexican FA President Justino Compean) about possible future competitions in Mexico, and I think they will be bidding to host an U-20 World Cup, which this year will be staged in Colombia, starting on 29 July. As regards the FIFA World Cup™, CONCACAF are in a position to apply for the 2026 World Cup and I think Mexico could be the candidate. That’s an issue for the next generation though.
On match-fixing and illegal betting
It’s a very delicate issue that’s causing FIFA great concern. That’s why we have started to work with INTERPOL, as the FIFA Statutes have no jurisdiction over national criminal law. We need the help of governments and their courts, but we also need a police investigation, which is why we’re working with INTERPOL. These things happen all over the world and the aim is to act rigorously. The police can put people in jail and we can suspend the players, coaches and referees involved in these affairs for life. We also need member associations to assist with investigations because the credibility of football is at stake.
On the opening of the Hall of Fame and the Museum of Football in Pachuca
It’s amazing. I hope a lot of people come and visit these facilities.
Deputy Chairman of the OC, Junji Ogura
On the success of the tournament
We’ve seen some massive crowds at every stadium, and the average crowd at the tournament has been 16,180, the highest since the introduction of the 24-team structure in 2007. That number will increase after the final day. The venue with the highest average attendance was Guadalajara with 21, 452 spectators per game. What’s more, only two of the games have ended goalless, with 149 goals having been scored so far. That’s an average of nearly three per game.
We would like to thank Mexico for its hospitality and, above all, the President of the Mexican Football Association Justino Compean, and the Director of the Local Organising Committee Yon de Luisa.
LOC Director Yon de Luisa
On the LOC’s assessment of the competition
We are very happy. Six of the Host Cities have now ended their involvement in the tournament, which was a resounding success for all them. Our aim right from the planning phase was to take the game of football to boys and girls who don’t usually get the chance to see a first division match, and we showed that it can be done. As of today, and with the support of the state governments and city councils, we have attracted more than 800,000 fans to the stadiums. And with the two remaining games we hope to establish a record that will be tough to beat, setting an important precedent in the organisation of World Cup competitions.