A large contingent of local media descended on FIFA's headquarters in Amman on 29 September 2016 for a press conference on the eve of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016. Several positive messages were communicated, from interest in the tournament online through legacy projects and the successful opening of the Fan Zone to the promise of a sell-out crowd for tomorrow's match between the hosts and Spain.
In attendance were Samar Nassar, CEO of the Jordan 2016 Local Organising Committee (LOC), Salah Sabrah, Chairman of the LOC and Tatjana Haenni, FIFA's Director of Women's Competitions.
As of now, we can say that all facilities are ready and that everything is set for the teams to experience a fantastic tournament. The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup is a unique opportunity for football in the Middle East and we can already see some real successes not only here in Jordan, but in neighbouring countries too. We hope that this tournament will inspire girls and also mums and dads to support their daughters in playing football and other sports. We feel we have achieved some important things even before the tournament starts. As you will know, the LOC with FIFA's support have been working on some legacy items, and leaving a legacy for the tournament and region has always been a key objective. To give one example, in terms of accessibility, our work with the LOC means that there are now designated areas at the stadiums for disabled people to watch the games.
Education and development has also been a huge part of our work and you will have seen a lot of activities taking place over recent years, such as coaching courses and Live Your Goals festivals, the trophy tour visiting a refugee camp - 300 of those refugees will be coming to opening game - and with Jordan's domestic league. This tournament has also served to increase the number of women working in sports management, and I must congratulate our LOC chairman for appointing so many women to the organisation - it has been a real pleasure to work with them. There have also been big improvements in infrastructure, not only at the stadium sites but at a number of training sites which after this tournament will be used by the community. I congratulate everyone involved, and I think this tournament will be a real landmark for Jordan, the region and women's football throughout the Middle East.
On whether there is a message to the world
Our message is that we are bringing women's football to a wonderful country with wonderful hosts, and that women's football needs support almost everywhere in the world. For FIFA, this is another step toward gender equality and more inclusiveness, and this is simply one project on a long road towards improving the position of women and girls in sport and society.
We wouldn't have been able to reach this historic moment and realised our dream without FIFA and our other partners. With the tournament now so close, we are undoubtedly very excited be hosting this fantastic event, which will be a first for Jordan. I know some people were perhaps worried about infrastructure and think now all who were concerned can now be comforted that everything is ready. There will be entertainment too besides the football and Jordan is going to be in the spotlight of the world with tomorrow's opening ceremony and the first matches of this momentous tournament.
The opening ceremony in Amman will begin at 7.30pm exactly but I would ask that fans arrive an hour-and-a-half early to avoid congestion. We can also say that we are going to have a very famous sports star who will be among the lovers and supporters of football at the stadium. And while it is very hard to predict the result of Jordan's first game against Spain, I can promise that the stadium will be full, with 14,000 joining us for this great event. We have also opened our fan zone in Amman, where all football lovers will be able to follow the competition, giving a chance for whoever is unable to purchase a ticket to watch the matches in a public space. Beyond that, several giant screens have been set up across the kingdom.
Developing football in Jordan is a noble goal and at this tournament we have several other objectives. I'm glad to say that we as an organising committee are able to say that we are 100 per cent ready, having worked for the past few years as one team with the staff and officials of FIFA. FIFA has always been a supporter of our work and very cooperative over these last few years. This has allowed us to reach the point where we are at today, where we have the infrastructure to host other championships; for example, we will now be hosting the 2018 AFC Asian Women's Cup. Our local clubs and national teams have also undoubtedly benefited from this work developing football and women's football in particular.