Friday 16 June 2023, 14:15

Legacy beyond tournament’s Host Cities in focus for Secretary General

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura visited Christchurch on Friday to witness first-hand how the footprint of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ will stretch far beyond those cities hosting matches. Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, will be the Team Base Camp for two visiting teams during the tournament: Costa Rica and Japan. For the first time dedicated Team Base Camps are being utilised, which means New Zealand’s engagement in the tournament is expanded to seven cities.

Along with Costa Rican Football President and FIFA Council Member Rodolfo Villalobos, the Secretary General visited Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub and the Distinction Hotel in Christchurch, which will serve as the Team Base Camp for Costa Rica next month. Costa Rica, who will be seeking to break new ground in their first Women’s World Cup for eight years by qualifying for the knockout stage for the first time, face a challenging group alongside Spain, Zambia and also Japan. In 2015, Costa Rica and Spain were also drawn in the same group and played out a 1-1 draw in Montreal. After following that with a dramatic 2-2 draw against Korea Republic, thanks to an 89th minute equaliser by Karla Villalobos, Brazil finally ended Las Ticas' knock-out stage hopes, with an 83rd minute winner in their final group match in Moncton.

The Secretary General expressed her support for the upgrades made at the training venue which included a private training pitch, meeting room, media room, dressing rooms and a special warm-up area. “It was wonderful to travel to a beautiful city like Christchurch and witness the legacy that will be left following the tournament in another part of the country,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “Having Costa Rica and Japan based in Christchurch will give the Canterbury community a chance to connect with the teams, inspire young girls and women, and maybe they will adopt these nations as their second teams.”

The Secretary General will conclude her week-long visit to New Zealand in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau on Monday.