President Joseph S. Blatter, Steffi Jones, President of the Local Organising Committee for Germany 2010 and 2011, and Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s Head of Women’s Competitions, faced the media following the meeting of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010.FIFA.com brings you the highlights from the press conference that was held at FIFA’s headquarters in Dusseldorf on the day before the final between hosts Germany and Nigeria.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
On the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2010 in general
I would like to pass on the compliments that FIFA has received to Steffi Jones and the LOC and the DFB. I used the term 'milestone' because the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup had two aims: the development of women’s football and the establishment of the tournament in the international playing calendar. The fact that the last four teams in the tournament come from four different confederations proves that women’s football is developing on all continents. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 is being held here in Germany next year, so that made this FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup something of a dress rehearsal. We’ve enjoyed a successful dress rehearsal. It was very important for FIFA to hold the Women’s World Cup in a country and on a continent where men’s football plays a dominant role. We will come to see - and Germany will prove this – that women’s football has its place, not just in the international calendar but on the world stage.
On Korea Republic making it to the semi-finals*
*It’s not the first time that the Korean teams are present at all stages of a World Cup. What is particularly worth mentioning in women’s football is that Korea DPR have enjoyed excellent results at the U-17 and U-20 World Cups. The fact that Korea Republic have done so well is a very pleasant surprise. They play a very attractive brand of football and have a technically very gifted playmaker in Ji So-Yun who has really proved herself here. Football is part of the culture in Korea, both North and South.
On the global development of women’s football*
*Women’s football is now being played in all different cultures. Even in Iran, whose U-15 team are taking part in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. This is how it should be, since women have the right to play. In handball, basketball and volleyball, if you’re not big then you don’t stand a chance, but anyone can play football, since kicking a ball is an instinctive thing. What we want is for women’s football to be recognised everywhere, and that will be the job of the next FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011. Tomorrow we are going to see a great final. It will be a great match with great football – I’m convinced of that.
On the increasing number of participants at FIFA’s women’s tournaments*
*One thing is certain: the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 will have 24 participating countries. Whether we organise the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2012 with 24 instead of 16 teams is something that we will have to analyse, but the organisers have been told to plan for 16 teams. We’re making progress, but we’re doing it slowly, otherwise the gap will be too wide. We have to look to the future but with a watchful eye.
On the organisation of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2010 in relation to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011*
*When FIFA award a tournament to Germany, we know that we can rely on them and we never doubted that. We should not forget what an incredible response the tournament has engendered around the world. You only have to think of all the photos to see this. And I must stress that the most popular video on FIFA.com is not for a match involving Germany but for the quarter-final between Mexico and Korea Republic, with around 500,000 views. It was a good tournament because the football was good, and it was fair too! There has only been one red card, which shows that the football was good and fair, and it also shows how well the officials have performed.
Steffi Jones, President of the Local Organising Committee
On the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2010 in general*
*It’s been a great World Cup up until now. We’ve done almost everything right both from an organisational and a sporting point of view. We have tomorrow’s final and third place match, and then the World Cup will be over and it will be one that will go down in the history books. In my opinion it’s a great opportunity for us to set a standard for the future, and I think that we’ve almost done that. We can be proud of the attendances, the fans and the sponsors. Looking at the numbers in the stadiums, we can be satisfied. What we need to do now is keep the anticipation building as next year approaches. I‘d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to everyone.
On the atmosphere in the stadiums*
*You can sense the enthusiasm wherever you go. Recently I’ve been both incredibly proud and delighted to feel the atmosphere. I’d love to be 20 years old again and play in this World Cup.
On the organisation of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2010 in relation to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011
We want to keep on improving. The important thing is that we don’t rest on our laurels. When something doesn’t turn out perfect, it’s usually just a matter of minor details, but actually everything has been perfect thus far.
On Sunday’s final in Bielefeld between Germany and Nigeria*
*The stadium is sold out. I hope that fans get there early and watch the third place match as well. It should be a fun occasion.