The first year on the road to the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™ was certainly a busy one for the tournament's Organising Committee. A look back at the past 12 months reveals a number of important measures and decisions that will form the basis of the continued preparations for the first FIFA Women's World Cup to be held on German soil.
The year 2009 will also see the tournament continue to take shape - visually, atmospherically and in organisational terms - with important decisions and events such as the putting on sale of some one million tickets.
Jones following Beckenbauer's lead
Like Franz Beckenbauer before her in his role as Organising Committee (OC) supremo for the FIFA World Cup 2006™, Steffi Jones has become the face of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 during the first 12 months of her tenure. The former international, who has no fewer than 111 caps to her name, has used all her charm and charisma to raise the profile and prestige of the OC that was put in place by the German Football Federation (DFB).
Popularity levels high for Jones
While the choice of Beckenbauer to head the OC at Germany 2006 was a logical one in light of his tireless work during the successful bidding campaign, the decision on 9 November 2007 to make Steffi Jones the President of the OC for Germany 2011 came as more of a surprise. Since officially taking on her duties on 1 January 2008, however, the 35-year-old former world and European champion has rapidly grown into her new role, with many successes already to her name.
Wherever Steffi Jones went during her first year of preparations for the next FIFA Women's World Cup, she found open doors and a warm welcome. Her sheer commitment was enough to gain acceptance and recognition for the task of leading the OC of the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup to be held in Germany. And she certainly cut no corners in her efforts, appearing at numerous PR events with prominent people and dignitaries both from Germany and abroad, going on official visits to New Zealand, Chile, USA and various countries around Europe (racking up some 130,000 miles in the air). She also attended countless appointments as part of her DFB duties and in her position as the senior OC representative, as was the case recently for the inaugural visits which she carried out with her fellow OC directors to the nine venues for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011.
Stadium tour conclusion on 15 December in Frankfurt
On 15 December, along with OC General Coordinator Ulrich Wolter and section heads Winfried Nass (cities and stadiums), Doris Fitschen (marketing), Heike Ullrich (tournament organisation) and Jens Grittner (media, PR and communications), Steffi carried out her final official duty of the year when she visited the city hall of one of the FIFA Women's World Cup host venues, namely Frankfurt am Main. The city will play host to the final of the sixth edition of this prestigious tournament on 17 July 2011.
As was already the case with senior officials of the cities of Augsburg, Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, Dresden, Berlin, Wolfsburg, Bochum and Sinsheim, Steffi presented Mayor Petra Roth with a large and valuable insignia featuring the official FIFA Women's World Cup emblem and which designates Frankfurt as one of the host cities for Germany 2011.
Fortunately for Steffi, she has a great deal of support when it comes to carrying out her official duties, as was illustrated that day in the Frankfurt city hall. With her main OC team watching on, Steffi appointed Silke Rottenberg as the fourth official FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 ambassador. Together with her former German international team-mates Britta Carlson, Renate Lingor and Sandra Minnert, goalkeeping legend Rottenberg has become part of a new squad designed to support the OC President in her work.
A visit to see the Chancellor
Perhaps the most significant day in the OC's first year was 30 September. In no less prestigious a setting than the German Federal Chancellor's office in Berlin, head of state Dr Angela Merkel, along with members of her government as well as FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and DFB president Dr Theo Zwanziger, attended an official ceremony during which the nine host venues for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 were announced.
As part of the event, the "Magnificent 11 for 2011" was also introduced. Eleven leading German female figures - Dunja Hayali, Monica Lierhaus, Ulrike Folkerts, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Renan Demirkan, Shary Reeves, Magdalena Neuner, Maria Furtwangler, Franziska van Almsick, Britta Heidemann and Nena - were charged with using their popularity to promote the first FIFA Women's World Cup on German soil. Their task was also to turn the tournament into a platform to make a significant contribution to socio-political issues such as integration and women's rights around the world.
Berlin was also where the DFB board of directors signed off the 51 million euro budget for the tournament, and where the board of trustees for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 held its first meeting, which was also on 30 September. The board comprises 20 figures from worlds of politics, finance, sport, the media, art and culture and is chaired by the head of the German Olympic Sports Federation Dr Thomas Bach, whose deputy, German interior minister Dr Wolfgang Schauble, also attended the meeting.
Unveiling the official emblem on 19 April 2008
The presentation of the official "Arena Deutschland" logo by Steffi Jones and Franz Beckenbauer on 19 April 2008 at the DFB German Cup final and FIFA's choice of Germany to host the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010, which FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter described as an "appetiser" to be held a year ahead of the "main event" from 15 July - 1 August 2010, were further highlights for the OC during a busy 2008. The DFB went on to choose Augsburg, Bielefeld, Bochum and Dresden as venues for the U-20 tournament.
Other significant events throughout the year included the German Federal President assuming patronage of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 as well as Deutsche Telekom and Commerzbank being named as the first two of what will eventually be six National Supporters of the tournament.
The year 2009 will also see the tournament continue to take shape both visually, atmospherically and in organisational terms. On 12 February in Sinsheim for example, countdown events will be launched in the host cities featuring prominent local and regional guests. The OC's aim is to "discuss, inform and inspire", and to use indicators of the time remaining until the tournament starts to build up anticipation for Germany 2011 in the host cities and elsewhere.
Unveiling of the official mascot, poster and slogan
The FIFA inspection tour of the nine host cities in March and the unveiling of the posters, mascot, host city logos and tournament's slogan are further milestones on the agenda for this year. "You will be excited to see how the slogan harks back to the fantastic atmosphere of 2006 while also emphasising the originality and dynamic nature of women's football," said Jones herself.
Throughout the summer and autumn, a road show is planned around the host cities which will also see what countless fans are already eagerly anticipating: the sale in the fourth quarter of 2009 of around a million tickets, including some great value family offers. In the main square of each of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 cities, the OC's ticketing concept will be explained at a day-long outdoor event open to all and aimed at families, with local and regional celebrities helping to build up the atmosphere among the cities and their inhabitants as the tournament approaches.
Finally, 2009 will see various targeted campaigns and activities being initiated which are designed to safeguard the sustainable development of women's football within the DFB and to guarantee its profile beyond Germany 2011.