Official emblem for New Zealand 2015 unveiled
© FIFA.com

The Official Emblem of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 was unveiled today at Wellington Regional Stadium as 35,000 fans gathered for New Zealand’s World Cup qualifying match against Mexico.

The design of the FIFA-developed logo demonstrates New Zealand’s unique culture and natural beauty as well as its standing as the first country in the world to see the rising sun.

Other elements of the design, which is based on the shape of the FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy, include the iconic unfurling “pico” or young fern, representing the youthful nature of those participating in the tournament and the potential greatness of the players who will be aiming to amaze fans with their skill and talent.

Commenting on the design, the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 CEO, Dave Beeche, said: “FIFA have captured all that is unique and special about New Zealand, it is a truly world-class design which is only fitting for FIFA’s second-largest football tournament – an event which we are hugely proud to be hosting.”

When meeting members of the Local Organising Committee in Zurich last week, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said: “New Zealand has proven to be a great host in the past, which is why the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 will be a great success as well as another opportunity for the Oceania region to promote itself to the world.”

“With only 23 nations out of 209 qualifying for a place at this tournament, every team competing in all of the seven cities from the top of the North Island to the deep south will provide some of the best football we will ever see in this country, a real treat for all sports fans young and old,” added Mr Beeche.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup has been the breeding ground for some of the world’s greatest footballers, including Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas and Luís Figo. Many of those participating in 2015 will have already established their reputations in the top leagues in Europe.

The unveiling of the emblem for the New Zealand-hosted tournament followed the announcement of the tournament match schedule, which will be staged across the country in Whangerei, Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The host nation will kick off the tournament with the opening ceremony at Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium on 30 May 2015, followed by the first of 52 matches to be played in the space of three weeks, culminating in the final back in Auckland on 20 June.