With seven months to go until the kick-off of the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, the Committee for Women's Football and the FIFA Women's World Cup, chaired by Worawi Makudi (Thailand), met today at the home of world football's governing body in Zurich.
Fourteen of the sixteen teams that will take part in the fifth ever flagship event of women's football are already known (a full list is available on www.FIFA.com ). Japan and Mexico will contest the 15th berth in the tournament in a two-legged play-off to be held on 10 and 17 March, whereas the final qualifier will be the winner of the OFC preliminary competition in April.
A delegation from the Chinese Local Organising Committee (LOC) led by its new executive general secretary, Lily Xue, who is also vice-president of the Football Association of the People's Republic of China, presented a detailed and exhaustive report on the current status of preparations for the tournament, which was extremely well received. "Having had the opportunity to visit them, I can confirm that the stadiums chosen to host the fifth FIFA Women's World Cup are excellent," added Mr Makudi.
The draw for the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007 will take place in Wuhan, one of the five venues chosen for the tournament, on 22 April. The procedure for the draw will be confirmed at a later date because, among other factors, it depends on the FIFA Women's World Ranking for March 2007 and the remaining play-off matches. Nevertheless, the following has already been decided:
- The hosts, China, will occupy position 1 in Group D (D1);
- The reigning world champions, Germany, will occupy position A1;
- The FIFA Women's World Ranking for March 2007 will determine positions B1 and C1;
- No group may contain more than one team from a particular confederation, except UEFA (maximum two teams in the same group).
The draw will be preceded by a match between the FIFA Women's World Stars and the Chinese national team at the Wuhan Sport Center Stadium on 21 April .
Also, for the first time as part of the FIFA Women's World Cup, doping controls will be carried out prior to the competition.
In addition, the fourth FIFA Women's Football Symposium will be held in Shanghai on 28 and 29 September. The development of women's football within FIFA member associations will be the main topic of the forum, which will attract several hundred participants.
Finally, the committee confirmed its support for a project concerning the legacy of FIFA women's youth tournaments. The aim of the project is to use these tournaments as springboards for the development of women's football in the host countries. The next FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup will be held in Chile in 2008, a year that will also witness the first ever FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, which will be hosted by New Zealand.