On the occasion of the semi-final of the FIFA Women's World Cup between USA and Brazil in Hangzhou, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter invited the Organising Committees of New Zealand and Chile to a joint media briefing to provide a glimpse of next year's FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cups. This is a further activity to stress FIFA's commitment to organising youth competitions to inspire young players around the world who dream of representing their country on the global football stage.
"I am very proud to have been among those who instigated this process. It is great to see that 49 of the 336 players competing in the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007 are participants from last year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship. In total, 35 per cent of the players at this tournament have participated in one of the three FIFA U-20 Women's World Cups," noted FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who added: "I therefore look forward with great enthusiasm to 2008 when for the first time we will also have a women's U-17 competition, thus giving the women's game the same tournament structure as in men's football. For the game. For the world. For the women."
Next year's youth competitions will mark another major milestone in the history of the women's game. Beginning with these two tournaments, the hosting of a FIFA youth competition will from now on be linked to a dedicated legacy programme to ensure that women's football becomes a standard-bearer within the host country. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark have committed themselves to serving as honorary presidents of their respective local organising committees to demonstrate their dedication to the long-term development of women's football in their respective nations.
"FIFA's belief in the women's game continues to bear fruit - fans and associations worldwide have enthusiastically voiced their support. The U-20 and the U-17 competitions are essential parts of FIFA's brick-and-mortar approach to strategic development. The invaluable experience gained at these levels provides important building blocks that ensure a solid foundation for women's international football long into the future," explained Worawi Makudi, chairman of the Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Two days prior to the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup, Chile will also present its strategic approach for next year's women's youth event at the 4th FIFA Women's Football Symposium at the Grand Hyatt Conference Centre in Shanghai on 28 and 29 September. "With help of our President Michelle Bachelet and all the efforts made by FIFA and our association, we are sure that the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup will be an incredible legacy to our society. The key point will be to integrate girls into sports activities in a much more consistent way than is currently the case. For this reason we invite the world to share with us this great opportunity that the FIFA President and the Executive Committee have given to our country," said Harold Mayne-Nicholls, chairman of the Organising Committee for Chile 2008. The Chilean government is set to build new stadiums in the four host cities of Coquimbo, La Florida/Santiago, Chillán and Temuco at a total cost of approximately USD 40 million.
Graham Seatter, chairman of the Organising Committee for New Zealand 2008, commented: "We are very excited to host what will be our second FIFA World Cup tournament. We are very honoured to be the launching pad for another new competition and hope to set a great benchmark for others to follow. The host cities of Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland will give all participants and fans a real taste of New Zealand."