Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

FIFA looks forward to the competitions in Chile and New Zealand

Under the chairmanship of FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cups met in Zurich today (Friday, 2 February) to review the preparations for the U-20 and U-17 events due to take place in Chile and New Zealand, respectively, in 2008.

"The women's youth competitions are essential for the development and expansion of women's football," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who officially opened the meeting. "I still believe that the future of football is feminine, and I therefore look forward with great enthusiasm to 2008, when Chile will host the U-20 competition and when for the first time we will have a women's U-17 competition, hosted by New Zealand."

The committee discussed different aspects of the organisation of the two 2008 events and examined the conclusions drawn from the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship Russia 2006, which will prove useful for the forthcoming competitions.

"We can draw important lessons from the competition that was held in Russia, which was very well organised", said chairman Blazer. "There is still much work to do, especially in the area of promotion, but we are confident that we will be able to work together to find all the necessary solutions to stage two world-class events."

In the run-up to those two events, FIFA and the Local Organising Committees (LOCs) have already started to seek commitment from government and other stakeholders in the countries of the host associations, placing a special focus on the opportunities that these competitions offer for the development of women's sport in general and football in particular. A FIFA delegation recently visited Chile and presented the long-lasting positive impact that such an event can make in the country, not only in terms of sports development, but also in social, health and economic terms.

During the meeting, the committee addressed other matters, such as possible dates for the competitions, the competition regulations (which will most likely be published next summer), the promotion of the two events, the importance of the women's international calendar with regard to the availability of players, and marketing and television concepts. Finally, representatives of the LOCs from Chile and New Zealand presented a summary of the progress of the preparations for the two tournaments.