As of today, there are just 100 days to go until kick-off of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, set to be the biggest event in the history of Turkish football. On 21 June, football fans the world over will not only witness the longest day of the year, but also the start of FIFA’s second most prestigious event, where the stars of the future often announce their arrival.
Live coverage in 190 countries
The FIFA U-20 World Cup, where a host of world famous stars first made their breakthrough, will feature 24 teams from every confederation. Turkey will host the 19th edition, which will run from 21 June until 13 July 2013.
The event is also expected to be broadcast live in 190 countries, meaning the eyes of the world will literally be on Turkey this summer. Moreover, the 52 matches at the game’s premier youth tournament will be played across seven cities, namely: Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon. The Kadir Has stadium will host the tournament’s opening match on 21 June, while the final will be played at the Ali Sami Yen Arena in Istanbul.
Yardımcı: 'We’ll organise the best FIFA U-20 World Cup ever'
Speaking on the 100-day landmark, Local Organisation Committee (LOC) Chairman Servet Yardımcı had this to say: "We’re happy to be just 100 days away from the FIFA U-20 World Cup, something we've been working towards since the summer of 2010.
"Our federation and the LOC are waiting with bated breath to see this lengthy and extensive work bear fruit. With the Final Draw on 25 March, our planning phase will come to an end and we'll enter the operational phase. The FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey will be the best youth championship to date thanks to huge support from our state and remarkable organisation by our host cities.
"With this outstanding event, which will be broadcast in 190 countries and reach an audience of over half a billion, we want to demonstrate once more our country's ability to host world class events."
Timeline of activities leading up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013
September 2010 - March 2011: Bidding process, culminating in award of hosting rights
February 2012: Announcement of host cities and tournament dates
June 2012: Launch of FIFA U-20 World Cup logo and announcement of match schedule
September 2012: FIFA U-20 World Cup summit in Zurich with the participation of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) board members, mayors and governors of host cities.
November 2012: Launch of Official mascot and start of ticket sales
February 2013: Launch of Official Match Ball, Cafusa, and official song "Yıldızlar Buradan yükseliyor" by Gece
Quotes on the 100 day countdown
"Gaziantep, the city which is cradle of civilization, are preparing to host the new Messis and Ronaldos and also the FIFA U-20 World Cup, one of the biggest sports events in the world," Dr. Asım Güzelbey, Mayor of Gaziantep.
"We are very proud and excited to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Today; there are only 100 days to go. Gaziantep is counting the days to watch the stars of the future. Come on, buy the tickets and watch this stars together with us," Erdal Ata, Governor of Gaziantep.
"I’m sure that the citizens of Bursa will fill the stadiums during the tournament so that the city will become popular with football culture," Recep Altepe, Mayor of Bursa.
"Just 100 days from now, we will host a tournament that all the world will keep an eye on. This festival of football will bring out some new stars," Prof. Dr. Mustafa Akydın, Mayor of Antalya.
"Antalya hosts 11 million tourists per year and it’s the third most visited city in the world. Antalya citizens are very familir to international sports organisations. The FIFA U-20 World Cup is so important to us," Dr. Ahmet Altıparmak, Governor of Antalya.
"New Messis, Ronaldos and Maradonas will shine in Trabzon this summer. Come on Trabzon, get your tickets and be the first to discover stars of the future," Dr. Recep Kızılcık, Governor of Trabzon.
"We are waiting for FIFA U-20 World Cup so excitingly. I’m sure that Trabzon citizens will show a high interest to the cup by filling the stadiums.," Dr. Orhan Fevzi Gümrükçüoğlu, Mayor of Trabzon.
Some notable players that have appeared at the FIFA U-20 World Cup:
Vladimir Bessonov , Diego Maradona, Enzo Francescoli, Marco van Basten, Robert Prosinecki, Zvonimir Boban, Predrag Mijatovic, Davor Suker, Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Adriano, Fernando Morientes, Juan Roman Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen, David Trezeguet, Nicolas Anelka, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Diego Forlan, Javier Saviola, Kaka, Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi