Momentum building for Colombia 2011
© LOC

Wednesday 1 December 2010 was a landmark moment in the build-up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011, with the unveiling of the official 52-match schedule, the official mascot and the Ticketing process. In attendance at the event in the capital Bogota were mayors and leading sports authority figures from all eight cities set to host matches at the country’s biggest ever sporting competition.

The President of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Luis H. Bedoya, was clearly delighted to be part of the ceremony, which is the second of the official activities planned on the road to next summer’s youth football fiesta. The tournament’s opening match will kick-off at 21:00 (local time) on 29 July 2011 at the Estadio Metropolitano de Barranquilla, with the final to begin at 20.00 (local time) on 20 August 2011 at Bogota’s Estadio Nemesio Camacho.

“We’ve been working hand in hand with FIFA for several months now to iron out all the details required to ensure this great event is a genuine success for our country at international level,” said LOC President Bedoya. “Today, it is our pleasure to unveil the official 52-match schedule, including the exact dates and kick-off times, as well as the number of matches to be hosted by each city.”

Bogota will be the main Host City for Group A and also for the Colombian national team, who are represented as A1 on the match schedule. In accordance with the dispensation granted to host nations by FIFA, for the time being Los Cafeteros are the only side to know where they will be based.

The main Host City for Group B will be Cali, though it will also welcome one encounter from Group A. Manizales, Armenia and Pereira will host of total of 12 first-round matches between them, spanning Groups C and D, while the trio of Barranquilla, Medellin and Cartagena will host a further 12 group matches, this time from Groups E and F.

Tickets now on sale
Featuring three phases of ticket sales, running from 1 December 2010 through to the final day of next summer’s finals, today’s ceremony unveiled the official Ticketing process for Colombia 2011. Tickets can be purchased at over 120 outlets spanning the whole country.

“Prices will be very reasonable and within reach of everybody who wishes to witness a genuine festival of football of the very highest quality,” continued Bedoya. “In this first phase of ticket sales, which will last until 31 January next year, we’ll put venue-specific group tickets up for sale with the added incentive of a 20 per cent discount. With this move we want Colombians to start securing their tickets right now and filling the stadiums at all eight Host Cities.”

The sporting arenas will be divided up into four categories depending on seat location and price, with group tickets ranging from 58,500 Colombian Pesos (£19) in Category 4 all the way to 433,500 Colombian Pesos (£143) for the finest Category 1 seats in the Estadio Nemesio Camacho, which will host the final and the closing ceremony.

Until 16 December 2010, VISA card holders from all over the world will have an exclusive opportunity to buy venue-specific group tickets for Colombia 2011 with a 20 per cent discount.

In order to take advantage of the pre-sale stage of these group tickets, football fans can visit the FIFA.com website and order tickets for Colombia 2011 at www.FIFA.com/Colombia2011. The ticket-sales operator also offers a phone service via the following numbers: in Bogota, +57 (1) 593-6300; in Barranquilla, +57 (1) 309-7460; in Cali, +57 (1) 405-5300; and Medellin, +57 (1) 444-6300. To access the service from a local mobile phone, dial #593.

Official mascot revealed
In the final part of the main event, and accompanied by a sound and light show, the official mascot of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 was revealed. This iconic figure is designed to represent the sheer level of biodiversity exhibited by fauna in Colombia, with the nation ranked first in the world in terms of the number of different species of birds.

“We want to invite every Colombian to identify with and fully enjoy our mascot for the U-20 World Cup,” concluded Bedoya. “We want them to savour its friendliness, respectfulness and knowledge of the sport, while we’d also like it to always be a trigger for togetherness, joy and football-related celebration across the whole country.”

The mascot’s official name will be revealed by the LOC in the coming months.