CONCACAF becomes center of women’s game as Canada prepares to host pair of global events
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Thursday, April 3, 2014) - CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb has praised the Costa Rican Football Federation, the Local Organizing Committee and the government for their successful hosting of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
He asserted that record-breaking crowds in host cities Alajuela, Liberia, Tibas and San Jose, are evidence that the women’s game will continue to grow in the region.
“The enthusiasm and commitment of Costa Rican football fans has once again been displayed throughout what has been an extremely successful tournament,” said Webb, who is also a FIFA Vice-President. “This competition has been yet another indication of the growth of the women’s game globally and specifically here in the CONCACAF region.”
The 24 first-round matches drew a total attendance of 209,658, setting a new competition record. On Friday, the final will be contested between Japan and Spain at the 35,000 seat Estadio Nacional.
“This tournament has been significant in that it has allowed us to show Costa Rica and its people to the world,” said Costa Rican Football Federation President Eduardo Li Sanchez. “Our passion for women’s football has helped to raise awareness of our hospitality, our culture and our traditions. We are a country small in size, but vast in ideals that promote healthy recreation.”
Over the next 15 months, CONCACAF will remain at the center of the women’s football world as Canada prepares to host both the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“We are honored to help provide a leadership role for the women's game in CONCACAF and around the world, so we are very excited to be hosting the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 and FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015,” said Victor Montagliani, President of the Canadian Soccer Association and Chairman of the National Organising Committee for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015. “Between this tournament in Costa Rica and the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada later this year, we feel 2014 will be the perfect launching pad for bigger and better things for women's football in 2015.”
Sonia Bien-Aime, General Secretary of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association and a member of both the FIFA and CONCACAF Executive Committees, says that hosts of international competitions can benefit from the experience in numerous ways.
“It raises the profile of women’s football in the host nation,” she said. “In addition, the country itself is promoted to a global audience.
“The income that can be generated by traveling team delegations and their supporters, in terms of airline bookings, accommodations and food, is obvious. The growing sports tourism sector should not be underestimated.”
At present, there are 31 women’s football leagues in CONCACAF member associations. In order to intensify development work in this area of the game, the Confederation plans on introducing an under-15 national team competition.
Jürg Nepfer, the Head of Education & Technical Development at FIFA, expressed his satisfaction with CONCACAF’s commitment to women’s football.
“FIFA and CONCACAF are working together very closely for the development of football in the confederation,” said Nepfer. “One important pillar is women’s football – and the moment couldn’t be more perfect to do so with the organization of three FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2014 and 2015 in that region. Capacity building, player development, raising awareness and promotion are staying in the focus of this cooperation.”