A press conference has been held in Montreal on the eve of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final. In attendance were David Chung, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the U-20 Women's World Cup and FIFA Vice-President; Tatjana Haenni, FIFA Deputy Director of the Competitions Division and Head of Women's Competitions; Victor Montagliani, Chairman of the National Organising Committee (NOC) and Canadian Soccer Association President; and Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive of the National Organising Committee and General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association.
I have visited all four host cities and enjoyed the matches I've seen. Overall, I would say the tournament has been a success in terms of organisation and the level of the football, and I would like to thank the National Organising Committee for helping achieve this. I have also been very impressed by the dedication and commitment of the volunteers and would like to thank them for their contribution. The key to this tournament is the development of young talent and we have seen lots of good players on show. I would like to congratulate tomorrow's finalists on reaching this stage of the tournament and stress again how important this tournament is for the development of women's football.
On the use of artificial turf for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, and whether such surfaces could also be used for the men's FIFA World Cup™
According to FIFA's competition regulations, the hosts have a choice whether to recommend to us for approval the use of artificial or natural grass. That is the case for all FIFA tournaments: men's and women's.
My thanks go to the Canadian Soccer Association and the National Organising Committee for all the work they have done. It's a long process in the lead-up to these tournaments - or two tournaments in this case - and we are really happy to see the outcome of all the hard work. At FIFA, we're quite happy with this competition so far: the teams have performed well on the pitch, and off the pitch things have also gone well. This tournament has also been very important in terms of preparing for the FIFA Women's World Cup and on some operational issues - mainly adjusting to the size of the country - we really have learned a lot. There are some areas we know we can improve on but generally speaking we're very satisfied with how everything has gone. We're really looking forward to next year now and I have no doubt that this will also be a really great event.
I'd like to first and foremost thank our FIFA colleagues not only for the opportunity to host this prestigious competition, but also for their support throughout the tournament and in the build-up. Our stadiums, our training grounds and three of our host cities for 2015 have been tested and, like FIFA, we're very satisfied. From a Canadian point of view, we're happy with the run our own team had and don't be surprised see a lot of these players, not just for us but for the other teams, back playing at next year's senior event. We're also really pleased with attendances, particularly for Canada matches, which averaged 16,000 and culminated in over 22,000 turning out for our quarter-final against Germany. Throughout the tournament there have been over 250,000 spectators and we're very pleased with the following it's had. For us, it was very important to use this tournament not only as a launching pad for next year but to treat it with the status a World Cup deserved.
On the issue of artificial turf and the prospects of it being used in a potential Canada-hosted men's FIFA World Cup
I think the best person to answer that is the Germany coach (Maren Meinert), and what she said on this issue was that the best surface is surface you win on. I know players in other tournaments with natural grass have complained about the quality of the surfaces there. That's the nature of players. The truth is that our bid went in according to FIFA regulations, and we're focusing only on this current tournament and next year. As for 2026 or other possible future bids, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, our focus is building on the success of this year and having stadiums full for next year.
We're very excited, now this tournament is almost completed, to be looking ahead to the FIFA Women's World Cup, which is just ten months away. Right now, qualification is ongoing - several teams have already booked their places - and we are just 18 days away from tickets and stadium passports going on sale on 10 September for all six venues: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton. For the past three weeks, we've tested three of those venues with great success. Stadium passports will range from $160 to $395 and the average price here in Montreal will be just over $17 per ticket. So as we get ready for the matches this weekend, we're also looking ahead to 2015 and what that will bring not only for Canada, but for the world.