It was a fitting end to a unique journey. After almost four months, 180 hours in the air and 120,000 kilometres of travel, FIFA and the OC finally completed their official FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ Welcome Tour in the Korea DPR capital of Pyongyang.
OC President Steffi Jones took the opportunity to congratulate the Korea DPR football family on their qualification and extend a personal invitation to Germany 2011. The Welcome Event was the first of its kind to take place in the 63-year history of Korea DPR.
Around 200 guests attended the final leg of the Welcome Tour, including Korea DPR FA President Ri Jong-Mu, DFB President Dr Theo Zwanziger and Claudia Roth, envoy of the German foreign office, as well as 18 members of the Korea DPR national team and coach Kim Kwang-Min. Also present were Dr Thomas Feist (CDU) and Patrick Kurth (FDP) from the German Subcommittee for Culture and Education, Dr Johannes Pflug (SPD) from the foreign office and Katrin Kunert (Die Linke), member of the German Sports Committee.
“Today was another great example of how football unites people. We were pleased to contribute to the friendship between our two countries by way of the Welcome Tour,” said Steffi Jones. VfL Bochum and Korea DPR striker Jong Tae-Se echoed the OC President’s sentiments and extended a similar welcome to his compatriots via video conference from Germany.
Further highlights of the 48-hour trip were the German delegation’s discussions with Korea DPR sports minister Pak Myong-Chol and Deputy Secretary of State Kum Sok-Un, as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DFB and the Korea DPR FA.
“We’ve been met with open arms and huge enthusiasm for the Women’s World Cup not only in Korea DPR, but also in each of the other 13 stops on the tour. Our trip to each of the qualified nations has proven a big hit,” said Steffi Jones.
A cumulative total of around 2,800 guests from the worlds of sport, politics, business and media attended the 14 FIFA/OC Welcome Events in Sydney, Auckland, Abuja, London, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Malabo, Mexico City, Ottawa, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Washington and Pyongyang. OC President Jones also had the pleasure of meeting various famous faces from Planet Football, including Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Jens Lehmann (England), Jan-Age Fjortoft (Norway), Patrik Andersson (Sweden), Henri Michel (Equatorial Guinea), Pavel Pardo (Mexico), Zico (Brazil), Carlos Alberto (Brazil), Carlos Valderrama (Colombia), Mia Hamm (USA) and Kristine Lilly (USA). She was also greeted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and First Lady Margarita Zavala, as well Canadian equivalent Laureen Harper.
“In spite of all the excitement, we still have a loose end to tie up as we were unable to make our appointment in Tokyo due to the catastrophic recent events in Japan. It’s a matter of great importance to us to prepare a fitting welcome for the Japanese team ready for their arrival in Germany,” added Jones.