Monday 12 November 2018, 22:42

Bareman: You can feel football in the air in Uruguay 

  • Uruguay is ready for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

  • Tournament’s opening press conference held in Montevideo

  • Former Uruguay striker Diego Forlan among those present

With just hours to go before the big kick-off, the opening press conference of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup took place on Monday 12 November at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo.

Around 50 journalists, several of them from overseas, attended the event, held at the venue for the tournament’s opening match, between hosts Uruguay and Ghana on Tuesday.

After touring part of the refurbished facilities, the visiting dignitaries, led by FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, fielded questions from the press.

The event concluded with a group photograph taken on the stadium’s new artificial pitch, where former Uruguay striker Diego Forlan and ex-Brazil defender Aline, both FIFA Legends, enjoyed a kickabout with official tournament mascot Capi.

Sarai Bareman, FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer "Women’s football is a priority for FIFA. We’ve just launched our new strategy and a significant component of it involves building a path for young players. That’s why this is an important tournament for us – it represents the first step in the careers of these girls. When they run out on to the pitch over the next three weeks they’ll be playing for their countries, themselves, and for the game itself, representing something for all the players who will follow in their footsteps.

"The facilities here are excellent. The people are friendly and approachable, and you can feel football in the air. I was at the clásico between Penarol and Nacional on Sunday and the atmosphere was incredible. We hope it will be the same during the World Cup."

Rafael Fernandez, President of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) "It’s exciting to be here the day before the tournament begins and to see the transformation that the Estadio Charrua has undergone. We’re delighted that this objective has been fulfilled. We might not have everything we need and we might have problems, but we Uruguayans have lots of heart, we’re full of joy, and we’re delighted to be welcoming the national delegations because we are a very hospitable country."

FIFA Legend Diego Forlan during a press conference ahead of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup

Diego Forlan, Official Tournament Ambassador and FIFA Legend "I’d like to speak primarily as a fan than as an ambassador. While many countries try to organise a World Cup but can’t, this will be Uruguay’s second, which is an honour for us. Even more importantly it’s women’s football, which is growing fast around the world. I hope it encourages more children to play the game, which has given me everything. And obviously we’re hoping that Uruguay can go as far as possible."

Fernando Caceres, Uruguayan Minister for Sport "The World Cup is an important step for us in the collective efforts we are making to develop sport. Major sporting events present an opportunity for cities, regions and countries to move forward and they leave behind them a legacy that offers a major boost for sport in general. It should also be pointed out that the work of local stakeholders continues after these events come to an end. Football is the number one sport here and this tournament will help women’s football to grow and develop in conditions where equality is guaranteed."

Pedro Bordaberry, President of the Uruguayan Football Association’s (AUF) Regularisation Committee "This tournament is the future of Uruguayan women’s football. We are very grateful to the LOC, the Ministry for Sport, FIFA, and the Uruguayan Rugby Union for the contributions they have made. This would not have been possible if we had not all worked together. As our national team coach Oscar Maestro Tabarez likes to say: 'The important thing is the journey and how it is made'."