- An inspection of the four France 2018 stadiums was conducted
- The tournament draw will take place on 8 March 2018
- “We’ll need to make a few small adjustments, but it’s going to be great”
Another significant step towards the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 was taken last week: between 7 and 10 November, a FIFA delegation carried out a preliminary inspection in Brittany, where the competition will be held from 5 to 24 August. The objective of this visit? To ensure that the four stadiums will be operational in time for the tournament kick-off.
“The goal of this week's visit is to meet the various representatives involved and to take a detailed look at different areas of the stadiums with regard to security, the media and the welcome given to fans,” explained FIFA Senior Competitions Manager Rhiannon Martin at the start of the four-day tour. “Our shared objective is to pack the stadiums, and to attract, in particular, some of the large numbers of tourists likely to be present in Brittany while the tournament is going on.”
This U-20 Women’s World Cup is a very important event for FIFA. The tournament should boost the number of women playing football in France, and more specifically, in Brittany.
The visit began in Vannes, in the company of David Robo, Mayor of Vannes, and Jean-Claude Hillion, President of the Ligue de Bretagne. The town’s Stade de la Rabine will stage the opening match, semi-finals and final. Boasting a capacity of 9,000 and a brand-new hybrid grass pitch, it will be the largest stadium used during the tournament.
Concarneau and the Stade Guy Piriou was the second port of call for the 45-strong delegation. Despite the arena’s smaller size, it made a notable impression on Martin. “The fans will be very close to the pitch, and that’s going to generate a fantastic atmosphere,” she said in reference to the “English-style” stadium. “The work is continuing and should be finished in May. We’ll be back in June to check that everything is in order.”
Saint-Malo and then Dinan/Lehon constituted the final stop-offs in the inspection tour, which was generally agreed to have been very positive. “We’ll need to make a few small adjustments, but it’s going to be great,” said Martin. “What’s important for FIFA, aside from the tournament itself, is the legacy that it leaves behind. The new facilities will remain in place.”
A follow-up inspection is scheduled for the spring, but the foundations for France 2018 are now well and truly laid. “There’s a real interest in women’s football here – you can just feel it,” noted former New Zealand international Rebecca Smith, a member of the FIFA delegation.