With just under two years until kick off in the first match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015, FIFA and the New Zealand Football Local Organising Committee (LOC) have confirmed that Hamilton will play a significant role in the tournament.
The tournament will be broadcast to over 100 countries and a global television audience of more than 170 million people, providing exposure for the tournament, the host cities, and New Zealand on a massive scale. It is estimated more than 7,000 overseas fans will pour into New Zealand for the tournament and to support their teams.
Hamilton will host eight matches altogether, including a Round of 16 clash and one of the quarterfinals. All of the matches will be played at Waikato Stadium. The naming of Hamilton as a host city followed a robust selection process where a total of seven successful cities were named: Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Hamilton will host six pool games, one Round of 16 match and a quarterfinal.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says the allocation of tournament matches reinforces Hamilton's reputation as a host of international events.
“This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for the city. Waikato Stadium is a world-class facility run by a terrific team of staff and the people of Hamilton and Waikato are known for their love of sport and getting behind big matches. The working partnership between the council and private business has been very successful and I thank those involved for helping to get this over the line,” she says.
Hamilton’s bid for matches was made possible through the work of H15, a group of business leaders and stakeholder representatives who raised $400,000 for the bid and hosting the matches. Their financial contribution was matched by Hamilton City Council.
Patsi Davies, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Football Chairperson and head of the H15 stakeholder group, says: “Allocation of these games is a great result for the city and the region’s football community. We are delighted to be working with Hamilton City Council and it’s a terrific example of a partnership between local business, the sports community and local government.”
Altogether the tournament will host 24 national teams, include 52 matches, and will run for three weeks from 30 May until 20 June 2015 during the local football season, which will provide a great opportunity for the large youth playing base in the sport to be inspired by the world’s best players. With an average of three goals scored per game in the last three FIFA U-20 World Cup tournaments this will be dynamic, exciting Football at its best.
Dave Beeche, CEO FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, is full of praise for all of the cities that were involved in the bidding process and is looking forward to the support of the Hamilton business and sporting communities who drove the local hosting bid. “We’d like to thank all of the cities that put in a bid to host matches for their work over the last year to get to this point. The feedback from FIFA was very positive following the recent site inspection tour and they are looking forward to a highly successful tournament in 2015.
“The great support shown by local businesses and the sporting community throughout the bidding process, combined with a large population catchment area, should make for some large local crowds. We know that sports fans in the wider Waikato / Bay of Plenty region got behind the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup FIFA tournament in a big way and with the world’s top under 20 players on show we know there will be a great turn out for the games at Waikato Stadium.
“To have seven stunning venues locked in nearly two years out from the first match gives us a great planning timeframe and we’ll use all of it to ensure that a standout event is delivered. This tournament has a huge global following and that’s the opportunity we have with this event – to deliver exposure for New Zealand and host regions both directly during the tournament and via a massive international television audience. With the world’s best footballing talent on display and stadiums full of colour, noise, and atmosphere it will be a new experience for New Zealand that everyone will want to be a part of.“