Monday 19 June 2023, 09:15

Enhanced Eden Park completes Secretary General’s Down Under visit

The final build-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™️ is in sight after the FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura concluded a busy two weeks-long visit to New Zealand on Monday. The FIFA Secretary General completed her final inspection visit prior to the tournament in the nations’ largest city, Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau. The final stop was Eden Park. The renowned venue has the honour of kicking-off the tournament on 20 July when New Zealand tackle Norway, as well as hosting eight other matches, including the first semi- final. The stadium has undergone a number of enhancements prior to the tournament, including dressing room renovations, LED floodlighting and the replacement of two giant screens.

Earlier in the trip the Secretary General inspected Wellington’s Regional Stadium which is also set to host nine matches during the tournament, including a re-run of the 2019 final, when reigning champions USA host the Netherlands in the group phase. There were also visits to a number of Team Base Camps, including in Christchurch – one of three non-tournament cities that will host teams. Alongside visits to numerous tournament related facilities, meetings with various key stakeholders were held, as well as media interviews, and, an interactive forum with many of the 32 nations’ diplomatic representatives based in New Zealand. Over the weekend, The Secretary General visited the Bay of Islands, taking in a local girls match and enjoying a meet-and-greet with members of the Paihia Football Club. There was also time for a cultural visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, often known to locals as the ‘Birthplace of our Nation’, and the place where New Zealand’s history was shaped through the signing of the Declaration of Independence, He Whakaputanga, in 1835 and the Treaty of Waitangi, Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840.

“It has been extremely pleasing to travel around New Zealand and experience the genuine enthusiasm for the tournament from so many quarters,” said the FIFA Secretary General. “A lot of work has been undertaken to reach this stage in terms of both planning and infrastructure. Pleasingly, I have also been able to witness first-hand the many ways in which there will be a legacy to help further grow football in New Zealand. “Following an equally satisfying visit to Australia last month, I can assure football supporters watching the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup either in the stands or across the world on TV, that we are about to go Beyond Greatness.”