Very positive first impressions
A FIFA delegation led by Issa Hayatou, FIFA vice-president and chairman of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments, has completed a three-day visit to China as part of preparations for the Olympic Football Tournaments in Beijing in 2008.
FIFA places great importance on the organisation of the Olympic Football Tournaments, which have been in existence for men since 1908 and for women since 1996. The purpose of this visit was to establish initial contact with the Organising Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games (BOCOG). Mr Liu Jingmin, the deputy mayor of Beijing and the executive vice-president of BOCOG, afforded the FIFA delegation a special audience.
Meetings regarding issues directly linked to the logistical organisation of the tournaments (match calendar, site preparation, accommodation, transport, accreditation, security, media work etc.) underlined the professionalism and enthusiasm of BOCOG.
Although seven venues have been selected to host matches – Beijing (x3), Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao – this visit concentrated on the three stadiums in the Chinese capital. The National Stadium, which will be the main arena for most of the major events at the 2008 Olympic Games, is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed in late 2007. The Workers’ Stadium and the National Olympic Sports Centre Stadium will also both undergo renovation during the course of next year. However, the plans in place for all three stadiums are perfectly adequate to allow top-level football to be played there.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that the Olympic Football Tournaments in China will be played in perfect conditions. Our colleagues and friends at BOCOG are very keen to meet FIFA’s requirements and I am thankful to them for that,” said Issa Hayatou.
Further inspection visits will be carried out in due course to focus on the operational side of the event.
In 2008, and for the first time ever, the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament will feature 12 teams instead of the previous 10.
The 2008 Olympic Football Tournaments will take place in China PR just under a year after another major FIFA event in the same country, the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For more information on the Olympic Football Tournaments, visit FIFA.com.