The eight cities that will play host to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, which will run from 17 October to 8 November next year, have been revealed at a press conference held at the Ciudad Jardin in Vina del Mar.

Appearing before the assembled media were Natalia Riffo, the Chilean Minister for Sport; Sergio Jadue, the President of the Chilean Football Association; Rafael Salguero, the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-17 World Cup; Chile 2015 LOC Chairman Cristian Varela; and Virginia Reginato, the Mayor of Vina del Mar.

The eight host cities are: La Serena, Coquimbo, Vina del Mar, Santiago, where the opening match will be played, Talca, Chillan, Concepcion and Puerto Montt.

The tournament will be bigger in scale than the three FIFA competitions previously held in Chile, with 24 teams taking part, eight more than at the 1962 World Cup, the 1987 World Youth Championship and the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup. 

“There are a lot of people we need to thank, because this achievement is not just down to the Chilean FA, the city of Vina del Mar, the government or the LOC,” commented Varela. “This is a festival for every Chilean person to enjoy, and we each deserve credit for earning the right to host the third most important of all FIFA’s championships.” 

The Chile 2015 LOC Chairman added: “Though we will face some major challenges in terms of organisation, infrastructure, training, volunteering, promotion and logistics, we have been working hard for the last two years to comply with each and every one of the football world’s requirements.”

In conjunction with the Vina del Mar event, similar press gatherings were held in La Serena, Coquimbo, Talca, Concepcion, Chillan and Puerto Montt and were each attended by leading local dignitaries and sports personalities.

“We would like to thank FIFA for the opportunity it has given us to demonstrate our hospitality once more and put our organisational abilities to the test with the U-17 World Cup,” said sports minister Riffo. “This is a public commitment and you can be assured that all the venues will have the necessary infrastructures to allow us to respond to the task of staging this World Cup.”

The minister added: “The tournament will provide a specific and very real focal point for the government’s commitment to decentralisation and the strengthening of the regions. With more than 90 percent of the matches being held in the provinces, the U-17 World Cup forms an integral part of the dream to make Chile a more integrated country.”

Expressing his views, Salguero said: “Chile has a lot to offer and I am sure that we will stage the best World Cup ever.”

Bringing the press conference to a close, Jadue said: “The fact that we are staging all these events on the same day and at virtually the same time owes nothing to fate or coincidence. In doing so we have sought to symbolise and highlight the fact that this important global tournament is a national enterprise, as the 209 nations that are represented at FIFA will have their eyes on the whole country.”