The Countdown is on - kick off for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Berlin
Seven and a half months before the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 begins in Germany, the German Football Association (DFB) has officially started the countdown for Berlin with a kick-off event. The opening match of the 6th Women’s World Cup takes place on June 26, 2011 at the Olympiastadion Berlin. The German National Team, two-time defending World Cup Champion, will face a yet-to-be-determined team.
“We are hopeful that with the opening match in Berlin, a new summer fairy tale will start at the same place where the men’s final in 2006 ended the World Cup then”, said DFB-president Theo Zwanziger in front of 400 guests from the fields of politics, culture, media and sports at the Bärensaal at the Alten Stadthauses, just across the street from the Berlin mayor’s office, the Rotes Rathaus.
„It’s going to be a lavish celebration of football“, Klaus Wowereit, Berlins governing mayor proclaimed, „and that’s a good thing by all means.“ The opponent for the German National Team will be determined in just about four weeks, on November 29, in Frankfurt am Main, when the final draw ceremony takes place. As of today, half of the participating nations have been determined, the rest are being determined in qualification tournaments that are still ongoing.
Sold-out Olympiastadion is the goal
The organising committee and DFB are striving to sell out the first of all 32 World Cup matches on June 26 at the Olympiastadion Berlin. „What we are hearing and seeing from ticket sales, is that we are going to be able to reach that goal“, Zwanziger said. 35.000 tickets have already been sold and the best seats in the hospitality area and all box seats are already sold out. A total of 75.000 tickets are available.
„We want the European Record. The World Record of 90.000 spectators that was set in the United States is not attainable with the capacity of the stadium “, DFB secretary Wolfgang Niersbach added. The record for most spectators for a women’s football game in Europe was also set by the German Football Association last year, when 45.000 spectators came to see a friendly match between Germany and the World Cup Runners-up from Brazil in Frankfurt.
„We can set milestones“, organising committee president Steffi Jones said. „You can believe me when I tell you that this World Cup is going to be a celebration“, the 111-time National Team player added. Jones foresees full stadia not just in Berlin, but also in the other eight stadia, where the World Cup is played, emphatically adding: „We want the stadia to be sold out and they will be sold out. “
Federal Minister for Family Affairs Schröder as patron
Dr. Kristina Schröder, Federal minister for Family Affairs, assumed patronage for the volunteer program for the World Cup. 4000 volunteers are needed for the realization of the event and the assistance for teams and media. As of now, more than 10.000 applications from 138 nations have been received. „The World Cup should not only become a summer fairy tale on the pitch, but also a celebration for the volunteers. They can draw beneficial effects from what they do during the World Cup for their working lives“, Kristina Schröder said and recognized the social benefits that result from girls’ and women’s’ football „Football does a lot for integration into society. It is just a lot more present in men’s football.“
„It’s new that the FIFA does that with a national association“, Tatjana Haenni, the department head for women’s football at FIFA said. The DFB is a role model for the high significance of women’s football, the Swiss native said.
DFB coach Silvia Neid outlined the preparation plan for the German National Team. „It would be a dream come true to win the World Cup for a third consecutive time. That would never happen again“, she said. The competition is stiff, especially the teams from the USA, Sweden, Norway and England. „It is more important that we all have as much fun as possible during this once in a lifetime experience“, Silvia Neid explained.
Bernd Schröder, coach of Turbine Potsdam, one of the premier clubs in women’s football, accented the importance of strong women’s football clubs. „The National Team lives from the work that is done in the clubs.“ He is optimistic that the future will be bright: „after this World Cup, women’s soccer will continue to grow in Germany.“
Organising Committee on tour: Jones follows in Beckenbauers’ footsteps
FIFA and Steffi Jones, president of the Organising Committee for the Women’s World Cup 2011, will travel to all 15 countries that will participate in the World Cup from June 26 to July 17, 2011 in Germany. Franz Beckenbauer, president of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup, took a similar trip during his “Welcome-Tour”.
During the trip that will consists of six legs and start in December, two events are planned at each location. One event is specialized on women’s soccer and, together with the host nation; FIFA will spotlight the Women’s World Cup 2011 and the significance of development of women’s football in general.
During the second event, the organising committee will inform 150 invited guests from the fields of politics, culture, sports and economics about the current state of preparations and important details concerning the tournament. The Department of Foreign Affairs will assist the organising committee in each country. The delegation, which is led by Steffi Jones, will spend about 180 hours on airplanes and will travel a total distance of around 120 000 kilometres.
“A fantastic opportunity “
The welcome and advertising tour by FIFA and the organising committee through the participating nations is a first in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The first stop is Sydney, Australia on December 8 and Auckland, New Zealand is next on December 10.
“This tour presents a fantastic opportunity to present ourselves as good hosts and to stir up excitement for the Women’s World Cup on an international level”, said Steffi Jones. “At the same time it is our goal to boost Women’s football as a whole through the knowledge and know-how of our FIFA-experts.”
“The development of football is one of the main goals of FIFA “, emphasized Tatjana Haenni, department head of Women’s competitions at FIFA headquarters. “This advertising tour together with one of the leading national associations in the development of women’s football presents the perfect opportunity to reaffirm FIFA’s continuing commitment to improve women’s football around the world. “